Social media is awash with visuals of Pakistani and Afghan fans insulting, mocking and mocking each other inside Sharjah’s stadium after the Asian Cup game on Wednesday night. Videos of the riot-like situation have surfaced where fans from both sides can be seen engaging in violence and damaging Sharjah’s stadium.
Accusing Afghan fans of violence, former Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar took to Twitter and wrote, “This is what Afghan fans are doing. They have done this many times in the past. It’s a game and it’s meant to be played and taken in the right spirit. Akhtar tagged former Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chief executive Shafiq Stanikzai in his tweet.
That’s what Afghan fans do. They have done this many times in the past. It’s a game and it’s meant to be played and taken in the right spirit.@ShafiqStanikzai both your audience and your players need to learn a few things if you want to grow in the sport. pic.twitter.com/rg57D0c7t8
—Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) September 7, 2022
Responding to Akhtar’s comment, Stanikzai took out another set of photos and wrote, “Watch these photos and video carefully then judge, also let the match referee decide according to cricket law before using humiliating words for the whole nation and this is your second time doing this. hope ke ab ap apologize ke hemat karogi.
@shoaib100mph watch these photos and video carefully then judge also let the referee of the match decide according to cricket law before you use words that are demeaning to the whole nation and this is the second time you have done this. I hope ke ab ap apologies ke hemat karogi pic.twitter.com/c6Dkgpx2ay
— Shafiq Stanikzai (@ShafiqStanikzai) September 7, 2022
Tempers flared towards the end when fast bowler Fareed Khan cut Pakistan to 118-9 in the 19th by having 16-year-old Asif Ali fired. The two players exchanged words as Asif raised his bat close to Fareed’s face and they pushed each other before the Afghan players rushed to separate them.
Pakistani number 10 hitter Naseem Shah smashed a straight six in the last game against Afghanistan for a one-wicket win that sets up the Asian Cup final against Sri Lanka. Needing 11 on last over and just one wicket in hand, Shah hit straight sixes on fast thrower Fazalhaq Farooqi’s two low throws to take Pakistan to 131-9.
A jubilant Shah threw off his helmet and batting gloves while sprinting towards the locker room once his last hit had long since passed and his teammates also rushed onto the field to celebrate the breathtaking victory .
Both teams have a fighting history. In the 2019 World Cup, in England, they clashed, resulting in ugly scenes.