Pakistan Clinched ODI Series Against Afghanistan


Pakistan Clinched ODI Series Against Afghanistan

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Pakistan’s lower-order displayed a spirited performance, resulting in an exciting one-wicket victory over Afghanistan during the second ODI in Hambantota on August 24th. This win allowed Babar Azam’s team to clinch the three-match series with a game still remaining.

In a match full of intense shifts in momentum, the final over began with Pakistan needing 11 runs to win with only two wickets in hand. Shadab Khan, who had been playing well, was not on strike, and Naseem Shah was at the other end.

The drama unfolded immediately as Shadab was run out at the non-striker’s end for venturing too far down the pitch. With the game hanging in the balance, Fazalhaq Farooqi executed a run-out on Pakistan’s all-rounder, seemingly a prearranged dismissal.

Nonetheless, similar to the Asia Cup T20 tournament from the previous year, Naseem Shah kept his composure. He managed to hit two boundaries and received assistance from Haris Rauf, allowing Pakistan to secure victory with a ball to spare.

The pursuit didn’t appear to be heading towards such a tight conclusion, especially after the century partnership between Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq. Their partnership put Pakistan in a commanding position following Fakhar Zaman’s early dismissal in the first PowerPlay. As Afghanistan felt the pressure, Pakistan reached 170/1, seemingly in control of the game.

However, the scenario changed swiftly. Babar was dismissed by a Farooqi slower delivery, triggering a collapse that saw Pakistan slump to 211/6. The older ball proved more difficult to score off, and without the influence of dew, Afghanistan’s spin trio put on the pressure. The sudden decline in Pakistan’s batting position favored Afghanistan.


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The situation worsened when Ifthikar Ahmed’s struggling innings was cut short, making the situation dire for Pakistan. Shadab Khan deserves credit for maintaining his composure under immense pressure and steering the game into its final stages before eventually losing his wicket.

Afghanistan faced challenges due to the lack of experience from Abdul Rahman, the pacer, who conceded runs during the final stages of the match. Pakistan’s batsmen strategically targeted the inexperienced bowler, especially in the second-to-last over of the chase, reaping benefits.

Earlier, Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s outstanding score of 151 and his partnership of over 200 runs with Ibrahim Zadran laid the foundation for Afghanistan’s solid total. Once this partnership was broken, Pakistan managed to regain control and limited Afghanistan’s final total to approximately 20-25 runs less than what they might have aimed for. Despite this, Afghanistan’s score of 300 remained competitive. However, as history repeated itself, Afghanistan couldn’t maintain their composure in a tight finish against Pakistan.

Summing Up the Standouts

Fazalhaq Farooqi stood out for Afghanistan, taking three wickets, while Mohammad Nabi managed to secure two. Explosive opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz delivered a career-best performance, scoring 151 runs to lead Afghanistan to a total of 300/5. The 21-year-old showcased an aggressive century, scoring at a run-a-ball rate, and formed a formidable opening partnership of 227 runs with Ibrahim Zadran, who contributed 80 runs off 101 balls. This impressive performance came after Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat.

Gurbaz exhibited his prowess with 14 boundaries and three sixes against a high-quality bowling attack. Notably, his previous highest score was 145 against Bangladesh in Chittagong the prior month. Zadran also played remarkably, hitting six boundaries and two sixes.

The partnership was eventually disrupted when spinner Usama Mir dismissed Zadran, caught at long off, in the 40th over. In the 45th over, tall pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi managed to dismiss Gurbaz, caught behind. Shaheen also claimed the wicket of Rashid Khan for two runs, finishing with figures of 2/58.

Nabi added a run-a-ball 29 before being caught off Naseem Shah, contributing to Afghanistan’s score of 73 runs in the last 10 overs. Fast bowler Haris Rauf, who had an outstanding 5/18 performance in the previous match, went for 48 runs in his seven overs without securing any wickets.

Brief Scores

Afghanistan: 300/5 in 50 overs (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 151, Ibrahim Zadran 80; Shaheen Afridi 2-58)

Pakistan: 302/9 in 49.5 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 91, Babar Azam 53; Fazalhaq Farooqi 3-69)

Result: Pakistan won by 1 wicket.


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