Pakistan win consolation T20I against Afghanistan

Pakistan claimed a consolation 66-run victory against Afghanistan in the third and final Twenty20 international, but it was not enough to prevent Afghanistan from winning the series 2-1. Shadab Khan, who was captaining the Pakistan side in the absence of regular skipper Babar Azam, delivered a fine all-round performance, taking 3/13 to become the first Pakistani and seventh bowler overall to complete 100 T20I wickets in his 87th match.

Pakistan scored a strong 182/7 in 20 overs, led by opener Saim Ayub’s solid 40-ball 49, which included two sixes and four boundaries, and Iftikhar Ahmed’s 31 from 25 balls with two sixes. Shadab and Abdullah Shafique were the other main run-getters, contributing 28 and 23 runs, respectively. For Afghanistan, spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman was the pick of the bowlers with 2/28.


In reply, Afghanistan struggled to chase the stiff target set by Pakistan and were bowled out for 116 in 18.4 overs. Pakistan’s fiery pacer Ihsanullah dismissed Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Karim Janat before his sharp bouncer left Najibullah Zadran’s chin bleeding, forcing him to retire hurt. Najibullah was stable but could not resume his innings, and Azmatullah Omarzai, his concussion substitute, top-scored with 20-ball 21, hitting a six and two boundaries. Ihsanullah finished with 3/29. Mohammad Nabi was run out for 17, Rashid Khan made 16, and Usman Ghani scored 15 before becoming Shadab’s 100th T20I wicket.

Although Pakistan lost the first two matches by six and seven wickets, respectively, they can take heart from the fact that they checked their bench strength by resting regular skipper Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Haris Rauf.

The series was arranged to replace three ODI matches that Afghanistan were slated to play against Australia this month in the United Arab Emirates. However, Cricket Australia abandoned the series in protest of Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban putting a ban on women’s education and cricket in their country.

In conclusion, Pakistan’s consolation victory will provide them with a much-needed boost as they look to regroup ahead of their next T20I assignment. Meanwhile, Afghanistan will take heart from their series win and continue to build on their impressive form.


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