Pakistan's tense victory over Afghanistan at the Asia Cup may come at a cost after tempers flared toward the tail end of the fixture's nail-biting finish.
While proving able to edge past their north-western neighbours by one wicket with four balls to spare, a spiteful mid-pitch clash between Pakistan's Asif Ali and Afghanistan's Fareed Ahman could see the men in green enter the final sans the righ-hander's services.
In a contest dominated by bowlers, Afghanistan was restricted to just 129 runs from their 20-over stand in Sharjah.
In reply, Saqlain Mustaq's men were left teetering on the precipice of defeat following Khushdil Shah's dismissal in the 18th over, leaving Pakistan with 20 runs still to chase and just three wickets left in hand.
After Ahmad dismissed Haris Rauf and Ali within the space of three deliveries, the contest very nearly boiled over after both Ahmad and Ali required separation, with the latter raising his bat in threat.
New angle of the Asif Ali and Afghan bowler fight👀 pic.twitter.com/s6qQcGc1Vt
— Haroon (@hazharoon) September 7, 2022
Although teenaged sensation Naseem Shah proved able to clobber back-to-back sixes off the bowling of Fazalhaq Farooqi during the final over, the bubbling animosity had made its way into the dressing rooms.
"To be honest, it was quite a tense environment in the dressing room," Pakistan's captain Babar Azam delineated post-match.
"I was in the dressing room … I thought it is cricket and I have seen Naseem bat like this, so I had a little bit of belief."
While more than four decades have passed since Australian quick Dennis Lillee and Pakistani maestro Javed Miandad were spared a sparring session at WACA in 1981, to the attuned eye and the historically versed, Ali's snap defiance in Sharjah had been seen before.
Neither the Asian Cricket Council of the International Cricket Council have made any announcement surrounding possible sanctions for Ali or Ahmad.
Pakistan's victory will now see them progress through to the tournament final against Sri Lanka, with the T20 prize fight to play out next Monday at 12:00 am (AEST).