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From Miandad to Naseem: 5 Pakistan six-shooting heroes

Pakistan fast bowler Naseem Shah smashed Afghanistan left-arm seamer Fazalhaq Farooqi for successive sixes in the last over Wednesday to take his team to the final of the Asia Cup in a thrilling encounter.

AFP Sport looks at five memorable six-hitting moments in Pakistan’s cricketing history.

Mighty Miandad

Javed Miandad’s final ball six off India’s Chetan Sharma in the 1986 Austral-Asia Cup final at Sharjah still hurts India fans.

Needing 246 for victory, Pakistan were in trouble at 61-3 before Miandad struck an unbeaten 116 off 114 balls.

With four needed off the final delivery, India fast bowler Sharma bowled a full toss and Miandad slogged it high over the leg side and into the crowd to trigger wild celebrations.

Mujtaba leveller

A left-handed gutsy middle-order batsman, Asif Mujtaba took on Australia’s bowlers in a 50-over World Series match in 1992 and hit a six off the last ball from Steve Waugh to tie a dramatic game.

Chasing 228 for victory in Hobart, Pakistan slipped to 197-7 but Mujtaba stood firm and with 17 needed off the final over Australia skipper threw the ball to part-time seamer Waugh.

Mujtaba hit him to all parts and dispatched the last delivery, a full toss, over midwicket to level the scores.

‘Boom Boom’ Afridi

Shahid Afridi won many exciting games for Pakistan with his maverick batting but his two sixes off India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in a 2014 Asia Cup 50-over match remain special.

Pakistan, chasing 246, needed 10 when Ashwin started the 50th over by taking a wicket.

But Afridi smashed the off-spinner for two straight sixes to live up his ‘Boom Boom’ nickname as Pakistan won with one wicket and two balls to spare.

Asif arrives

Asif Ali was relatively unknown when he hit four straight sixes off Afghanistan’s Karim Janat to announce his arrival at last year’s T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

Pakistan needed 26 off 18 balls when Asif walked in to bat.

Asif watched calmly from the non-striker’s end in the 18th over before smashing Janat over the ropes four times to take Pakistan home with an over to spare.

Naseem heroics

Naseem Shah became Pakistan’s newest six-hitting hero when he walked in to bat at number 10 with Pakistan needing 20 off 10 balls with just two wickets in hand in their chase of 130 against Afghanistan on Wednesday.

Pakistan lost Asif in the 19th over but Naseem kept his cool, with 12 needed off the last over, to smash Farooqi’s attempted yorkers for consecutive straight sixes over long-off.

Pakistan take momentum to Lahore as Australia rue another near-miss

Pakistan and Australia head into the third and final Test in Lahore with the series locked and all to play for but the home side will feel they have the momentum after pulling off a brilliant save in Karachi.

Inspired by a majestic 196 by captain Babar Azam and 104 by Mohammad Rizwan, Pakistan’s 171.4-over stonewall was the longest any team has batted in the fourth innings of a Test, barring England’s epic 654 for five in the ‘Timeless Test’ against South Africa in Durban in 1939.

“(Batting) five sessions in a Test match against a world-class team like Australia is no joke,” said wicketkeeper Rizwan.

“This match is definitely a benchmark for our team to rise above.”

Pakistan has now twice foiled Australia’s vaunted attack, though the lifeless Rawalpindi pitch aided the home side’s cause in the series-opener.

Australia, meanwhile, spoke of disappointment in falling three wickets short of victory but may quietly feel relieved to leave Karachi with the series tied.

Pakistan were motoring towards what would have been a record 506-run chase for victory until spinner Nathan Lyon dismissed Babar and all-rounder Faheem Ashraf in consecutive balls.

Australia’s inability to close out matches from dominant positions on day five has become a problem.

They have now racked up five such failures in their last 19 tests, having let England off the hook in Sydney during the recent Ashes and India twice in the 2-1 series defeat in the previous home summer.

While Australian media questioned whether skipper Pat Cummins might have enforced the follow-on rather than making his team bat again, the tourists’ sloppy fielding on day five ultimately paved the way for disappointment.

Mitchell Swepson, Australia’s first Test leg spinner in more than a decade, may feel particularly aggrieved after finishing with figures of 0-156 from nearly 54 overs’ work in the fourth innings of his debut Test, with four chances going begging off his bowling.

“I thought ‘Swep-o’ bowled fantastically today,” Cummins said.

“I don’t know how he’s ended up with those figures.”

The wicket at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium will be something of an unknown as it hosts its first Test since 2009.

Selecting an attack has been a virtual guessing game for Australia on their first tour of Pakistan in 24 years and Lahore may be no different.

Cummins said they will at least have a full complement of bowlers to choose from, with he and his fellow pacemen sparing themselves a bigger workload in Karachi by routing Pakistan for 148 in their first innings.

Pakistan lose Abdullah Shafique after a solid start in the first Test of historic series

Pakistan lost opener Abdullah Shafique after a solid start before reaching 105-1 at lunch on Friday on the opening day of the first Test against Australia in Rawalpindi.

Shafique miscued a lofted shot off-spinner Nathan Lyon and was caught by Pat Cummins for 44 in the penultimate over of the two-and-a-half-hour session, extended because of Friday prayers.

At the break, Imam-ul-Haq was unbeaten on 57 while Azhar Ali had yet to score after Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat on a dry and flat Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium pitch.

Australia seemed to have erred in their selection as they went into the Test — they are first in Pakistan in 24 years — with three pacers, a fast-bowling all-rounder, and a lone spinner in Lyon.

In contrast, Pakistan included two spinners, a part-time slow bowler, and two frontline pacers.

Australia’s pace bowlers did not take a wicket in the first session, and Lyon was brought in to bowl in the eighth over.

Lyon, who so far has figures of 1-36, turned his first ball sharply and beat the bat for an unsuccessful caught behind appeal off the fourth.

Shafique hit a six in the spinner’s third over, but the very next ball Lyon induced an edge to leg-slip — only to see Travis Head drop a sharp chance with the batsman on 21.

Haq, playing his first Test since December 2019, was solid as he hooked Cummins for his eighth boundary to complete his third 50 in 12 Tests.

Historic moment

Before the start of the match, Pakistan Cricket Board Chief Executive Officer Faisal Hasnain said the start of the first is a historic moment in Pakistan’s cricket history, adding that it sends a powerful message to the rest of the world.

“The pitch looks nice so we’ll try to put runs on the board,” Pakistan captain Babar Azam said, predicting spinners would play a key role in the first match of the three-Test series.

Australia players wore black armbands in memory of former wicketkeeper Rod Marsh who died aged 74 on Friday.

A sell-out crowd of 16,000 is expected.

The second Test is in Karachi (March 12-16) and the third in Lahore (March 21-25).

Teams:

Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah.

Australia: Pat Cummins (captain), Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner.

Umpires: Aleem Dar and Ahsan Raza

Mohammad Hasnain was suspended from all of the cricket after bowling action is found illegal

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday suspended Quetta Gladiators pacer Mohammad Hasnain from further participation in the ongoing seventh edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) as well as any form of international cricket after a bowling examination found that his right arm exceeds the permissible 15-degree limit.

Hasnain’s bowling action was reported by umpires during a game between Sydney Thunder and Adelaide Strikers in Australia’s Big Bash League on January 2. He was subsequently tested at the International Cricket Council-accredited biomechanics laboratory in Lahore as the fast bowler was due to fly back home in time to compete in the PSL.

“As per the Illegal Bowling Action Regulations, until Hasnain clears his reassessment, he will remain suspended from bowling in the international cricket,” the PCB said in a statement.

The cricket board said it had received a formal and detailed report from Cricket Australia on Hasnain’s assessment test and quoted its bowling experts as saying the “problem can be resolved.”

“The report from the CA stated his elbow extension for Hasnain’s good length delivery, full-length delivery, slow bouncer and bouncer exceeded the 15-degree limits.”

The PCB said “Hasnain is an asset for Pakistan cricket” and one of the very few bowlers to consistently click 145kmp.

“As such, and keeping his future and Pakistan’s interest at the forefront, the PCB, on the recommendation of the HBL PSL 2022 Technical Committee, has decided he will not be allowed to continue to participate in the HBL PSL,” the board said in its statement.

The PCB added that it will now appoint a bowling consultant tasked with working with Hasnain so that he could rectify his bowling action and be ready for a reassessment.

The board said the bowler would now utilise the current time with the PCB-appointed bowling consultant to modify his bowling action so that he could apply for a reassessment and become eligible to “return to international cricket as quickly as practically possible”.