Asif Ali turned hero for Pakistan when he smashed Afghanistan pacer Karim Janat for four sixes in the 19th over to take Pakistan past a tricky 148-run target, giving them three wins in as many games in the Group 2 of the Super 12 Stages. While his credentials at the international level were in doubt, by winning two games in a row, Ali has buried all of them and stated that he is confident of hitting sixes after leading Pakistan to a hard-fought five-wicket victory over Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup in Dubai on Friday.
"I have confidence in my hitting and that paid off. I hit sixes towards the longer side of the boundary.
Pakistan, chasing 148 to win, were well placed at 122-3 in the 17th over when Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan turned the match on its head, bowling Babar Azam out for 51. In the next over, Naveen-ul-Haq conceded just two runs and dismissed veteran Shoaib Malik for 19. Shadab Khan came in for the last ball of the over and guided a shot into space, but Asif refused a single, taking the fate of the match in his hands. With Pakistan needing 24 off the last two overs, he went on the rampage against Janat, smashing the first, third, fifth, and sixth deliveries high over the boundary.
"Yes, I knew that there was a single, but I had confidence that I will hit sixes and score the needed runs. They did not bowl towards the shorter boundaries but I hit him towards the longer side. My job is to hit sixes, so I practise in scenarios based on situations, needing to hit sixes in the last five overs type situations," he said.
Maligned for his poor form despite being given consistent chances by team management, Asif said he ignored the criticism.
"I don't read what is said about me on social media and don't watch television so I don't know what is said about me in social media and that helps me focus on my work."
Pakistan play Namibia in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday followed by their last match against Scotland in Sharjah on November 7. The top two teams from each group qualify for the semi-finals.