The Afghanistan side must have been demoralised after being dismissed for just 59 in their chase of 202 in the first ODI against Pakistan in Hambantota. In the second ODI, Hashmatullah Shahidi and Co. had no other option but to win in order to keep the series alive. Skipper Shahidi opted to bat first after winning the toss and Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran got the team off to a great start. They registered a 227-run partnership as Babar Azam was left searching for answers.
Gurbaz took the attack to the Pakistani bowlers while Zadran was happy to grind it out in the middle. When the latter was dismissed in the 40th over for 80 off 101 balls, Afghanistan had the perfect platform to go big in the last 10 overs. Gurbaz notched up his fifth century and continued his onslaught before being dismissed for 151 off as many balls. He hit 14 fours and three sixes in his epic knock. However, Afghanistan could only score 73 runs in their last 10 overs for the loss of four wickets. The Pakistan bowlers were exceptional with their execution at the death as they restricted Afghanistan to 300/5 in 50 overs.
Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq got Pakistan off to a solid start with a 52-run partnership. After the former was dismissed by Fazalhaq Farooqi, Babar and Imam kept rotating strike and picking up the odd boundary to set Pakistan a stable platform. The skipper was dismissed for 53 off 66 balls by Farooqi, who broke the 118-run partnership. However, after Babar’s wicket, Afghanistan made a strong comeback as they kept taking wickets at regular intervals to dent Pakistan’s progress.
Shadab Khan, however, scored a brilliant 35-ball 48 to take Pakistan on the brink of victory. In the last over, Pakistan needed 11 for a win. Farooqi ran Shadab out as he left the crease before the ball was bowled but the last-wicket partnership between Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf won the match with one ball to spare to help the Asian giants win the series 2-0.
Here are some reactions on ‘X’
Naseem Shah does it again! 🤩
— Muhammad@aamir (@_aamir_9622_) August 24, 2023
— Ali (@AliMurad7860) August 24, 2023
Its that man again Naseem Shah.He has done it again.#AFGvPAK
— Hassan Hussain (@93_hussain) August 24, 2023
— Indian (@x_viral_) August 24, 2023
— Hassan Khawaja(Bobby) (@HassanKhawaja52) August 24, 2023
Afghanistan so close and yet so far ! It’s that man Naseem Shah again who breaks Afghani hearts. #AFGvPAK
— Sanket D. Patil (@sankulyaa) August 24, 2023
— Ali Tahir Imam 🇵🇰 (@atahirimam) August 24, 2023
— CricketEra04 (@_CricketEra04) August 24, 2023
— Mateen Gujjar (@realmateen) August 24, 2023