World Cup 2019: The three most nail-biting matches of the tournament
The run-up to the Cricket World Cup 2019 witnessed a lot of talk about how the pitches that would be used for the World Cup in England and Wales would be absolute belters. It was anticipated that there would be a lot of 300+ scores and many 350+ or 400+ scores as well. However, some fans were worried about these predictions since such high scores being scored by the team batting first could also result in more one-sided matches detrimental to the spectacle of the tournament.
However, as the Cup progressed, the fans got to see many close matches, especially in run-chases that had targets in the range of 220-290. In this article, we take a look at the most closely-contested matches in this edition of the World Cup.
#3: Pakistan vs Afghanistan
After having won the toss, Afghanistan chose to bat and trundled their way to a final score of 227-9. An inspired spell of lethal left-arm bowling from the 19-year old Shaheen Afridi, who became the youngest bowler to take a 4-fer in World Cup matches in the same match, meant that they could never post a threatening total on the board for Pakistan to chase down.
However, Pakistan being Pakistan, can never win a match without giving their fans some skipped heartbeats. The target seemed easily achievable, especially after Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq had laid a decent platform for the middle-order to fire. However, Mohammad Hafeez threw away his wicket yet again and Haris Sohail was dismissed lbw by Rashid Khan. In typical Pakistan fashion, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Shadab Khan ran themselves out to further dent Pakistan's chances of winning the match. Imad Wasim was the last recognized batsman left.
Pakistan finally got a stroke of luck when Gulbadin Naib came in to bowl the 45th over. The man-of-the-match Wasim struck three fours off Naib in that over to dramatically reduce the difference between the runs required and the balls remaining. He went on to score 49 and won the game for Pakistan.