Afghanistan had the game in the palm of their hands. Their spinners, Mujib-ur-Rahman, Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan along with part-timer Samiullah Shenwari had strangled the life out of Pakistan's batting. Pakistan needed 46 runs off the last five overs at over 9/over but even getting singles was looking very tough against the spinners.
But then for some bizzarre, inexplicable reason, Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib decided to bring himself to bowl the 46th over. Even the most capable lawyer in the world would be unable to defend Gulbadin. There was no justification for this decision. He had gone for over 5 runs an over in his spell up till that point.
Imad Wasim suddenly had pace to work with and the lack of discipline from Gulbadin led to 18 runs being scored in that over. Suddenly, the required run-rate and deficit between runs required and ball remaining came down drastically. Furthermore, Imad Wasim had hit his stride. The last ball from Gulbadin was a near-yorker and conceded just a single. But the less said about the other balls, including a wide, the better.
Rashid Khan bowled the next over but now Imad was looking confident and well set while Rashid was under way more pressure than before. A lucky boundary of an outside edge on the third ball of the over further added to Afghanistan's woes. The next ball produced a run out but that proved to be a counter-productive as Wahab Riaz played two brilliant shots to get a four and six and eventually succeeded in bringing the required rate to just run a ball - 10 runs needed off 10 balls.
Pakistan needed 6 off the last over. Gulbadin had the option of bowling Samiullah Shinwari, the part-time spinner whose 8 overs went for just 32 runs and his last over had proved very hard to score of. But Gulbadin decided to take the responsibility of bowling the last over himself and as expected, Pakistan got past the line in a match that they shouldn't have been allowed to win.
Even Man of the Match Imad Wasim accepted at the presentation ceremony that Gulbadin was the only bowler that could have been targeted as the ball was turning square and the Afghan spinners were world class. This loss will and should hurt Afghanistan and their captain badly.