Afghanistan secure excellent win over Pakistan in first warm-up
Afghanistan pinned their opponents to 262 all out thanks to a dominant bowling effort, and despite a masterful Babar Azam ton, Hazratullah Zazai’s 28-ball 49 and 74* from Hashmatullah Shahidi saw Gulbadin Naib’s side reach their target with just two balls to spare in a thrilling finish on Friday, 24 May.
It was another disappointing outing for Pakistan, having been beaten in their last 10 ODIs prior to this fixture.
Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat, and Afghanistan’s good early efforts with the ball were marred by some poor fielding, as a few catches went down in the early overs.
Hamid Hassan cleaned up the in-form Imam-ul-Haq (32) however, prompting jubilant roars from the Afghan supporters. A double-strike from Mohammad Nabi (3/46) then shifted the momentum in favour of Afghanistan.
Fakhar Zaman (19) was lured into a drive and bowled through the gate, before Haris Sohail played down the wrong line, exposing a slither of his off-stump, sufficient room for Nabi to hone in and dislodge the bails once again.
Nabi, grabbing his third wicket, then forced Malik to hole out as he looked to accelerate, and Pakistan collapsed from 203/4 in the 38th over to a disappointing 262 all out.
Rashid Khan was imperious in his efforts, dismissing the experienced duo of Sarfaraz Ahmed (13) and Mohammad Hafeez (12) in a nine-over spell which yielded just 27 runs. Babar’s dismissal in the 46th over quelled any chance of a late run-surge.
The classy Rahmat Shah chipped in with 32 before edging behind down leg, gifting Wahab Riaz (3/46) his first wicket, and two quick scalps from the economical Wasim (2/29) helped plug the run-flow somewhat in the middle overs. Samiullah Shinwari (22) departed just as he had begun to find his rhythm, and the run-rate started to rise as Pakistan could sense a potential comeback.