Naseem’s late show takes Pakistan to thrill-packed series win over Afghanistan

Published August 25, 2023
PAKISTAN opener Imam-ul-Haq plays a shot as Afghanistan wicket-keeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz looks on during the second One-day International at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium on Thursday.—AFP
PAKISTAN opener Imam-ul-Haq plays a shot as Afghanistan wicket-keeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz looks on during the second One-day International at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium on Thursday.—AFP

HAMBANTOTA: Number 10 batsman Naseem Shah hit a boundary off the penultimate delivery to give Pakistan a dramatic one-wicket win over a luckless Afghanistan in the second ODI at Hambantota on Thursday.

The 20-year-old miscued a boundary off fast bowler Fazalhaq Farooqi and ran jubilantly towards the dressing room as Pakistan scored 11 off the final over to finish with 302-9 in 49.5 overs.

The victory gave Pakistan an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series with the last game in Colombo on Saturday.

Pakistan’s late surge overshadowed opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s career-best run-a-ball 151 that lifted Afghanistan to 300-5 in their 50 overs.

The final two overs of Pakistan’s chase were full of drama.

Needing 27 to win, they were brought closer by Shadab Khan who hit Abdul Rahman for a boundary and six off the last two balls of the 49th over.

Farooqi added spice to the drama when he ran out Shadab with his first delivery off the last over when the batsman backed up too far and fell victim to a Mankad dismissal.

But Naseem hit boundaries off the first and fifth delivery to pull off victory.

Naseem hit the same bowler for two last over sixes to give Pakistan victory by one wicket in the Asia Cup Twenty20 game in Sharjah last year.

Shadab, whose 35-ball 48 had three boundaries and a six, revived Pakistan’s chase in the final overs with his team behind at 258-7.

“When you are a senior player, you go through these stages every time,” Shadab said after the match. “The pitch was...their players have worked class spinners, so I wanted to take on fast bowlers.”

Before the fightback it was opener Imam-ul-Haq’s 105-ball 91 with four boundaries that set the platform.

Imam shared a robust 52-run stand with fellow opener Fakhar Zaman (30) and another 118-run for the second wicket with skipper Babar Azam who made a 66-ball 53 with six boundaries.

But from 170-1 in the 31st over, Afghanistan hit back by grabbing five wickets in the space of 41 runs to push Pakistan to 211-6.

Farooqi had Babar caught off a miscued flick while spinner Mohammad Nabi had Salman Ali Agha (14) and Usama Mir (nought) in the same over. Mohammad Rizwan was run out for two as Pakistan slid badly.

Fellow spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rahman dismissed Imam in the next over to leave Pakistan in a spot of bother before Afghanistan ran out of luck.

Earlier, it was the 21-year-old Gurbaz who shared an opening stand of 227 with Ibrahim Zadran, who scored a 101-ball 80, after Afghanistan won the toss and batted.

Gurbaz hit 14 boundaries and three sixes against a world-class attack that had reduced Afghanistan to 59 all out in the first game on Tuesday.

Gurbaz’s previous best was 145 against Bangladesh in Chattogram last month.

Zadran also hit out brilliantly with six boundaries and two sixes.

Spinner Usama Mir broke the opening stand in the 40th over when he had Zadran caught at long off, while pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi dismissed Gurbaz caught behind in the 45th over.

Shaheen also had Rashid out for two to finish with 2-58.

Nabi made a run-a-ball 29 before he was caught off Naseem Shah as Afghanistan piled up 73 runs in the last 10 overs.

Fast bowler Haris Rauf, who picked up a career-best 5-18 in the first match, went for 48 in seven overs without success.

“It is hurting because we had enough runs but at the last moment they took the game away from us,” Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi said. “The over which...49th over there were some easy balls to the batsman and they smashed it.

“They [openers] are playing very good from one and half years. I want them to play the same way. Both are good sides. The pressure, we weren’t able to control.”

SCOREBOARD

AFGHANISTAN:

Rahmanullah Gurbaz c Rizwan b Shaheen151

Ibrahim Zadran c Iftikhar b Usama80

Mohammad Nabi c Imam b Naseem29

Rashid Khan lbw Shaheen2

Shahidullah Kamal run out (Shaheen)1

Hashmatullah Shahidi not out15

Abdul Rahman not out4

EXTRAS (LB-11, NB-2, W-5)18

TOTAL (for five wickets, 50 overs)300

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-227 (Zadran), 2-256 (Gurbaz), 3-260 (Rashid), 4-270 (Kamal), 5-294 (Nabi)

DID NOT BAT: Riaz Hassan, Ikram AliKhil, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi

BOWLING: Shaheen 10-0-58-2 (1nb), Naseem 9-0-45-1 (3w, 1nb), Haris 7-0-48-0, Shadab 10-0-53-0 (1w), Usama 10-0-61-1 (1w), Iftikhar 4-0-24-0

PAKISTAN:

Fakhar Zaman b Farooqi30

Imam ul-Haq c Hassan b Mujeeb91

Babar Azam c Shahidi b Farooqi53

Mohammad Rizwan run out (Shahidi)2

Agha Salman c Gurbaz b Nabi14

Usama Mir c Kamal b Nabi0

Iftikhar Ahmed c Nabi b Rahman17

Shadab Khan run out Farooqi48

Shaheen Afridi c Rashid b Farooqi4

Naseem Shah not out10

Haris Rauf not out3

EXTRAS (LB-6, W-24)30

TOTAL (for nine wickets, 49.5 overs)302

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-52 (Fakhar), 2-170 (Babar), 3-176 (Rizwan), 4-208 (Salman), 5-208 (Usama), 6-211 (Imam), 7-258 (Iftikhar), 8-272 (Shaheen), 9-290 (Shadab)BOWLING: Farooqi 9.5-0-69-3 (2w), Mujeeb 10-0-45-1 (2w), Rahman 10-0-83-1 (4w), Nabi 10-0-46-2 (2w), Rashid 10-0-53-0 (2w)

RESULT: Pakistan won by one wicket.

PLAYER-OF-THE-MATCH: Shadab Khan

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2023

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