Sharjah, Sept 8: (PTI) It was another tense finish between Pakistan and Afghanistan, triggering a heated off the field clash between fans of the two neighbouring countries yet again after the Super 4 match of the Asia Cup.
The passionate fans of both teams had come to blows even during the T20 World Cup last year and the 2019 ODI World Cup.
The trigger for the brawl on Wednesday was fuelled by Pakistan batter Asif Ali getter rather physical with Fareed Ahmed after the pacer’s in your face celebrations following the former’s dismissal.
With 11 needed off the last over and Pakistan having only one wicket in hand, Afghanistan were favourites to get over the line in a low-scoring game until Naseem Shah produced two consecutive sixes out of nowhere to send his team into the final.
Considering the intensity of the game, it was not a surprise that Shah and his teammates were fired up after the win.
Outside the ground, fans once again let the emotions get the better of them.
Videos being circulated on social media showed fans pulling out seats and throwing them at each other.
ESPNcricinfo reported that several Afghanistan fans were detained by the Sharjah Police but none was arrested.
Following the ugly scenes, Pakistan Cricket Board is set to lodge a protest with the ICC.“Some eyewitnesses at the ground said trouble had been brewing throughout the match and in one enclosure objects were thrown at players while after the match there were violent clashes outside the stadium as well.
“The PCB will be dispatching a letter shortly to the International Cricket Council (ICC), Asian Cricket Council (ACC), Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), Sharjah Cricket Council and event organizers expressing their displeasure and concerns over the post match incidents with Pakistani fans,” said a PCB source.
Former players on either side were also very vocal about their thoughts on the incident.“This is stupidity at extreme level by Asif Ali and should be banned from the rest of the tournament, any bowler has the right to celebrate but being physical is not acceptable at all,” said former Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib.
Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar said: “Afghan players put right back into their place by 19-year-old kid Naseem Shah. Unforgettable match against people we have loved & supported always. Lekin bat tamizi aur arrogance nay un no foran neecha dikhaya (bad behaviour and arrogance showed them in poor light).”
The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) also issued a statement following the controversy.“AfghaAtalan have always represented the Afghan Values at its very best and have truly treated cricket as a gentleman’s game. We hope others will also respect the passion and dedication for the game and somehow try to spread love and devotion among nations. “Cricket is regarded as a phenomenon of harmony and more intimate relations between nations.
“Let’s work together for bringing the cricket fraternity closer. Cricket does not allow for us to show negative emotions on the field and turn the friendship atmosphere into violence,” the ACB posted on its twitter page, along with a friendly photo of Pakistan pacer Haris Rauf and Afghanistan star Rashid Khan.