Pakistan captain Babar Azam hailed Asif Ali saying he was always confident of Ali's capabilities to dig the team out of trouble following his seven-ball 25 in the T20 World Cup win against Afghanistan on Friday.
Chasing 148 in Dubai, Pakistan lost Azam in the 17th over and with 24 required off last 12 balls, Asif Ali went on a rampage by smashing four sixes off to take Pakistan home.
"He (Asif Ali) is known for this. He has played many innings at the PSL (Pakistan Super League). So I was very confident he'd get us out of any trouble we find ourselves in," Azam said after his team scored a hat-trick of wins to stay on top in group 2 points table. I was confident pre-tournament itself that he would deliver when needed."
Azam felt that the bowlers had conceded few extra runs in the end after Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi (35 not out off 32 balls) and Gulbadin Naib (35 not out off 25 balls) rescued the team from 76/6 in the 13th over.
"We started well with the bowl, got a lot of wickets like we planned. Maybe gave away 10-15 runs too many at the end," Azam said.
Early in the chase Pakistan lost Mohammad Rizwan (8) early but Azam (51 off 47 balls) and Fakhar Zaman (30 off 25 balls) kept the innings under control with their 63-run stand.
"With the bat, we couldn't capitalise the powerplay as we wanted to. At the end, with Malik and Asif Ali, we knew they could do the job. We planned our strategies well with the ball, and also ensured that he kept the uneven boundary dimensions in mind while bowling.
"Spinners were getting some grip from the track, Afghanistan have quality bowlers too and I was trying to take it as deep as possible. Unfortunately I couldn't finish things off but credit to Asif Ali."
Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi looked at the positives from the match saying his team had fought well.
"We didn't start well but the total on the board was a decent one for this pitch. We discussed that 150 would be a good score and so we dug deep. And then got some runs in the last few overs," he said.
"I think three spinners are enough. Rashid bowled at the right time and we tried to take the game deep. Asif Ali played really well in the 19th over. Lot of positives from today's game. We fought really well till the end."