Spare a thought for Afghanistan who came so close to taking down yet another giant in ODI cricket. They fought valiantly, but it wasn't to be. Pakistan have prevailed. Phew.. just the kind of game to spark the Asia Cup to life. That's all from us here. Good night!
Malik, MoM: Being a senior player, the goal was to bat to the 50th over. That was the only thing. At one stage the required rate was 10, but I kept telling myself to play till the last over. Even good bowlers, when they're bowling at the end, the situation is different. As batsmen we can charge them. Would like to congratulate them. Everyday they've been improving. I think they're a great side.
Sarfraz, Pakistan captain: We were shaken. Credit to Imam, Babar and the way Shoaib played towards the end, that was fantastic. The spinners they have, I reckon they're the best in the world. Against them, to chase 250 in these conditions, you have to bat out of your skins. Shadab couldn't pass his fitness test. Got a lot of confidence the way we won today. Team has been motivated by this performance. Our fielding has improved in last one and a half years, but today it went awry.
Asghar Afghan, Afghanistan captain: I congratulate Pakistan, they played really well. It was tough and thrilling. The crowd enjoyed the game. It is the first game in this Asia Cup - close game. Lot of credit to Babar and Imam. They played very well and built a crucial partnership. If you give a chance to a senior player like Malik, it's difficult. Malik chased down and they won the game. Today, Hashmatullah and myself played well and we wanted 240+. Our fielding and medium-pacers let us down. I think on this type of track, Rashid is good. 4 overs 40 is tough to score and that's why we went with the same plan, but they played very well.
23:50 Local Time, 19:50 GMT, 01:20 IST: Shoaib Malik punches the air in delight. On a night where things got too close for comfort for Pakistan, he has shown what a champion he is and how badly they need his experience in tricky situations. When to attack, which bowler to target, which bowler to see off, this was just a lesson in finishing off a game. Pakistan appeared to be in control with the 154-run stand between Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam, but the pace at which they went meant that the batsmen to follow were always going to be under pressure against Rashid Khan. That's where Malik was instrumental in taking it deep and keeping his cool. He wasn't going to be denied, much to the agony of Alam who is devastated.
It's come down to 10 off the final over. Aftab Alam in a long conference with the Asghar Afghan. They've decided on keeping mid-off in the ring. Malik on strike
Hasan Ali, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Rashid Khan to Mohammad Nawaz, THAT'S OUT!! Bowled!!
This has to be the over for Afghanistan. Rashid with his last
Tense faces in the crowd. Alam is taking his time here to think about his plans
Aftab Alam [8.0-1-43-0] is back into the attack
Wow this is going down to the wire, isn't it! Who's your money on?
Mohammad Nawaz, left handed bat, comes to the crease
Poor game awareness from Pakistan. They haven't even crossed over
Rashid Khan to Asif Ali, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Rashid Khan [8.0-0-28-1] is back into the attack
It's 39 from 24 and Rashid has two overs left. Afghanistan might have just edged ahead in this game, but Pakistan have Malik out there. Geez this is close
Mujeeb Ur Rahman [9.0-2-30-2] is back into the attack
Asif Ali, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Naib to Sarfraz, THAT'S OUT!! Bowled!!
Gulbadin Naib [9.0-0-54-0] is back into the attack
Rashid Khan [7.0-0-23-1] is back into the attack
Rashid time.. Big moment in the game
Aftab Alam [7.0-1-39-0] is back into the attack
Sarfraz Ahmed, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Mujeeb to Haris Sohail, THAT'S OUT!! Caught!!
Gulbadin Naib [8.0-0-45-0] is back into the attack
Ten overs and Pakistan need 75. Malik is the key for Pakistan. He bats through and they will be home. Same way Rashid holds the aces for Afghanistan, couple more wickets for him and they will feel secure. Too close to call still..
Mujeeb Ur Rahman [7.0-2-21-1] is back into the attack
Round the wicket to Sohail
Aftab Alam [6.0-1-34-0] is back into the attack
The experience of Malik already showing. Afghanistan thought with two new batsmen they could slip in some quiet overs off Naib, but Malik ensured that was not the case. He played percentage cricket and has kept the asking rate close to 6.5.
Gulbadin Naib [7.0-0-35-0] is back into the attack
Slip in place and he's too far for the spinner that is because Rashid is no normal spinner. That ball would fly if it takes the edge
Shoaib Malik, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Rashid Khan to Babar Azam, THAT'S OUT!! Stumped!!
Shahzad is jumping and pumping the air. Rashid is also celebrating. Azam might be stumped here. The square leg umpire has gone upstairs. Fair delivery. Over to the end. Yes. Shahzad has his man. OUT!
Haris Sohail, left handed bat, comes to the crease
Rashid Khan to Imam-ul-Haq, THAT'S OUT!! Run Out!!
Afghanistan are celebrating. They reckon Imam is run-out. Yes. Well short of the crease. OUT!
Rashid Khan [4.0-0-14-0] is back into the attack
Time for drinks.. The match is set up perfectly. 105 off 102. Rashid has six overs to bowl. Two well settled batsmen. This might just be the game that the Asia Cup has been missing - going right down the wire. A wicket or two in succession will turn the tide and in the same way if these two continue with their sensible batting, Pakistan will be more relaxed. Those six overs of Rashid might just determine the outcome..
Mujeeb Ur Rahman [6.0-2-18-1] is back into the attack
Mohammad Nabi [7.0-0-38-0] is back into the attack
Gulbadin Naib [6.0-0-25-0] is back into the attack
Mujeeb Ur Rahman [5.0-2-12-1] is back into the attack
Babar Azam might have hurt his calf here. He is being attended by the physio.
Mohammad Nabi [5.0-0-21-0] is back into the attack
The asking rate is now above 6 RPO. However, Pakistan have nine wickets in hand..
Gulbadin Naib [4.0-0-12-0] is back into the attack
A slip in place
Rashid Khan, right-arm leg break, comes into the attack
Here he is. Chants of "Rashid.. Rashid..."
Aftab Alam [4.0-1-23-0] is back into the attack
And with that, it's time for drinks! Pretty solid recovery from this pair after that early blow from Mujeeb. Still, with the rate approaching six an over, and with Rashid Khan yet to be unleashed, this promises to be very interesting.
Now round the wicket for Azam too
Mohammad Nabi, right-arm off break, comes into the attack
Gulbadin Naib, right-arm medium, comes into the attack
There's a breeze blowing from Babar's right to left. So that should aid Aftab Alam's inswing, only if he bowls full!
Nabi has a word with Aftab. Bowl full son, and of course, try to swing it!
Time Afghan talks to Aftab Alam. He's wasting the new ball, the length's been short. It's swinging just a touch and the fuller length could do the trick.
All Pakistan need to do is to not lose their calm and keep the scoreboard moving with minimal risks. Take the game deep and transfer the pressure back on the bowlers later.
Massive shout for LBW, Mujeeb is so excited that he demands a review. Impact way outside off stump for me, waste of a review. But let's see. Absolute waste of a review. This is why the keeper's got to have a strong say. How on earth did he not spot that it was not in-line with the stumps, sometimes, the bowler won't realise that.
Aftab Alam bowled very well with the new ball last night. There is some grass. It did move under lights. Let's see how it all pans out!
BIG MOMENT: The HawkEye on that Fakhar Zaman dismissal says impact outside off stump. A review would have saved him.
Aftab Alam, right-arm fast medium, comes into the attack
Babar Azam, right handed bat, comes to the crease
Mujeeb to Fakhar Zaman, THAT'S OUT!! Lbw!!
Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq are at the crease. Fakhar Zaman is on strike. Mujeeb will open the attack