Pakistan Wins A Thrilling Match Against Afghanistan
In a gripping second match of the one-day international (ODI) series against Afghanistan, Pakistan secured yet another victory, this time by a mere one wicket, in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.
Continuing their impressive form from the first ODI, where they triumphed by a substantial 142 runs, the Pakistani team clinched the series win. Naseem Shah, previously instrumental in leading Pakistan to victory against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup 2022, once again played a pivotal role, guiding the team to a thrilling win in the last over with 11 runs needed off 6 balls.
In pursuit of a 301-run target, Pakistan faced an early setback with Fakhar Zaman dismissed for 52 runs. However, Imam-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam’s partnership of 118 runs solidified Pakistan’s position. Yet, shortly after reaching his half-century, Babar fell to Fazalhaq Farooq, leading to a succession of wickets.
The situation seemed dire for Pakistan, but Shadab Khan’s innings of 48 off 35 brought them back into the game. The final over was a spectacle, with Fazalhaq approaching the crease to bowl, targeting Shadab on the non-striker’s end. Despite Shadab’s unusual dismissal, Naseem Shah stepped up, guiding Pakistan to victory.
In the initial innings, Afghanistan’s opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz stood out with a formidable 151 runs, helping Afghanistan post a total of 300-5 in 50 overs. Afghanistan’s opening pair, Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran, established a substantial 227-run partnership, marking the second-highest ODI partnership for Afghanistan. While Zadran contributed 80 runs, Gurbaz continued his run-a-ball 150 before being dismissed by Shaheen Shah Afridi in the 45th over. His explosive innings featured 14 boundaries and three sixes.
Shaheen Afridi secured two wickets, while Naseem Shah and Usama Mir claimed one each. Afghanistan made changes to their lineup, with Riaz Hassan and Shahid Kamal replacing Rahmat Shah and Azmatullah Omarzai from the previous ODI. Pakistan, however, remained unchanged for the contest.
The playing XIs were as follows:
Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt), Ikram Alikhil, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Abdul Rahman, Shahid Kamal, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Shadab Khan, Usama Mir, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf.