DUBAI: Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi has defended his decision to introduce front-line spinner Rashid Khan into the attack after 10 overs in the T20 World Cup loss against Pakistan.
Defending a tricky 148, Afghanistan brought in the star leg-spinner only in the 11th over with Pakistan needing 76 runs from 60 balls.
Afghanistan lost the game by five wickets on Friday night.
"I think it's not too late after 10 overs. He bowled really well, and he restricted them quite well," Nabi said at the post-match media interaction.
"...that's why at the end they have 12 balls for 24 runs. It meant he restricted them quite well," Nabi added.
Rashid, who registered figures of 2/26, dismissed Mohammad Hafeez (10) before taking the crucial scalp of skipper Babar Azam (51) to put Pakistan in a precarious position.
But Asif Ali once again played the finisher's role to perfection, smashing four sixes in an over to power Pakistan to a five-wicket win.
"Pakistan finished the game well at the end. But our boys played really well. We threw early wickets, then we put a decent total on the board.
"We restricted them very tight until the 19th over. In the end, Pakistan won the game. That's a part of cricket."
The match was also marred by crowd trouble with spectators trying to climb the fence of the stadium before the security staff intervened.
"For the Afghan fans, please buy a ticket and come to the stadium. Don't repeat again. This is not good," Nabi said.
For Afghanistan, it was their first defeat of the tournament in Group 2 as they face tougher challenges ahead with matches against India and New Zealand.
"There's a lot of positive things in these games. We take the positive things and we have three more games, inshallah we'll do well, and now our team is in high morale."
The usually calm and composed Nabi looked visibly upset after a scribe asked him a question on their diplomatic relation with Pakistan after the Taliban's takeover.
"I think we can just stick to cricket, leaving out the situation. It will be better. We are here for the World Cup and we have come full of confidence and preparation," Nabi said.
Prodded further on Pakistan-Afghanistan relations after the change of government, Nabi said: "It's not a cricket question", before leaving the arena.