Sanjay Bangar has lauded Mohammad Nabi for playing a memorable knock in the Asia Cup 2023 Group B clash between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
The Lankan Lions set Hashmatullah Shahidi and Co. a 292-run target after opting to bat first in Lahore on Tuesday, September 5. Nabi then smoked 65 runs off just 32 deliveries to give his side hopes of qualifying for the Super Four stage by achieving the target in 37.1 overs but they eventually lost the game by two runs.
While reviewing the match on Star Sports, Bangar heaped praise on Nabi for playing a belligerent knock and said:
“In the middle overs, it seemed the game would easily go in Sri Lanka’s favor, but when Mohammad Nabi came, he showed what he can do. He has been playing for such a long time. He is their most experienced player but the way he batted, this inning will be remembered for a very long time.”
The former Indian all-rounder pointed out that the veteran player’s knock instilled confidence in the Afghanistan dressing room. He stated:
“While playing that inning, he gave confidence to the dressing room and he played shots like that, whether it was against the fast bowlers or the spinners.”
Nabi walked out to bat when Afghanistan needed 171 runs off 18.3 overs to qualify for the Super Four stage. He added 80 runs for the fifth wicket with Shahidi (59 off 66) to bring the equation down to 91 runs off 64 balls by the time he was dismissed.
“It was very difficult to stop him” – Sanjay Bangar on Mohammad Nabi
Sanjay Bangar was particularly appreciative of Mohammad Nabi’s ability to play big shots on the off-side, saying:
“The best thing was that he played a lot of shots through the off-side or straight down the ground because the power hitting is mostly done on the on-side. Most of the batters drag those balls to the on-side but he hit a lot of shots on the off-side, because of which it was very difficult to stop him.”
The cricketer-turned-commentator added that the former Afghanistan skipper’s dismissal allowed Sri Lanka to stage a comeback in the game. He observed:
“He had a strike rate of 206 against deliveries wide outside the off-stump and 200 against deliveries just outside the off-stump. The strike rate was decent against the straighter lines but when a batter prefers the off-side for range hitting, it shows his ability. Sri Lanka probably got an opportunity when his wicket fell.”
Karim Janat (22 off 13), Najibullah Zadran (23 off 15), and Rashid Khan (27* off 16) played crucial cameos after Nabi’s dismissal. However, Rashid’s inability to get the strike in the 38th over, when a big hit was required, cost Afghanistan the game along with a Super Four berth.
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