Asif Ali hit four sixes in 19th over to hand Pakistan five-wicket win over Afghanistan
Pakistan have continued their dominance in the T20 World Cup as they beat neighbours Afghanistan by five wickets at Dubai International Stadium.
Babar Azam stroked fifty, during 148-run chase, but Asif Ali's power show in the 19th over was the highlight of the night.
Earlier, the Men in Green conceded too many runs at the backend as Afghanistan posted 147/6 after skipper Mohammad Nabi opted to bat first.
The openers didn't come to the expectations with Hazratullah Zazai (0) departing in the second over courtesy of a brilliant catch by Haris Rauf while Mohammad Shahzad (8) was removed by Shaheen Shah in the third over.
Ashgar Afghan (10) and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (10) provided a brief blitz as they scored 17 runs off Imad Wasim's second over but the duo was removed by Haris Rauf and Hasan Ali respectively in the following overs.
Karim Jannat and Najibullah Zadran were steady after the powerplay but Pakistan spinners kept them quiet. Karim (15) fell to Imad while Shadab dismissed Najibullah (22).
Afghanistan made a stunning comeback with skipper Nabi and all-rounder Gulbadin Naib providing an unbeaten 71-run stand in 43 balls. Both remained not out on 35.
Gulbadin, in his 25-ball knock, hit a quartet of fours and a six while Nabi smacked five fours in his 32-ball innings.
Imad was the pick of bowlers for Pakistan, bagging 2/25 in his four-over spell while Shaheen and Shadab conceded 22 respectively and picked a wicket each. Pacers Hasan Ali (1/38) and Haris Rauf (1/37) were expensive in their respective spells.
The Men in Green didn't have the best start as they lost in-form Mohammad Rizwan (8) early. Rizwan tried to sweep but the ball went straight in the hand of Naveen-ul-Haq at square-leg.
Skipper Babar paired with Fakhar Zaman and the duo provided stability to the innings. Fakhar was aggressive in the start while Babar was maneuvering singles.
Meanwhile, Babar snatched yet another record from India's Virat Kohli. He became the fastest to 1000 runs as captain, reaching the landmark in 26 innings while Kohli achieved in 30.
The partnership was broken by Nabi as Fakhar missed a sweep and the ball hit in front of middle stump for LBW dismissal. Fakhar made 30 off 25 balls, powered by two fours and six.
On the other hand, Mohammad Hafeez's poor form continued as he walked back after scoring 10 off 10. Hafeez was Rashid Khan's 100th dismissal in T20I cricket. He became the fourth bowler after Shakib Al Hasan, Lasith Malinga and Tim Southee to get this feat.
Babar reached his fifty but fell straight after. He was undone by Rashid as he tried to slog him on the last ball of his spell. With the help of four boundaries, Babar scored 51 off 47 balls.
Shoaib Malik (19) was dismissed by Naveen on the second-last ball of the 18th over with Pakistan still needing 24 off the last 13 balls.
But Asif Ali in the 19th over completely took the onus on him, smacking four sixes to Karim Jannat and finished the game. He was awarded Player of the Match for his 25 in just seven balls.
Rashid starred for Afghanistan with figures of 2/26.
Pakistan are comfortably placed at the top of their group with three wins. They will face Namibia on November 2 in Abu Dhabi.