Sharjah: Pakistan beat Afghanistan convincingly by 7 wickets but credit goes to the Afghanis who played like a professional side & gifted 6 SIXES to Pakistani bowlers.
Another five-wicket haul for Shahid Afridi © AFP
The Sharjah Cricket Stadium was jam-packed with the fans of Pakistan & Afghanistan for this wonderful match & a milestone for Afghanistan Cricket. Spectators were out in numbers with flags of their countries in their hands to support their sides.
Nawroz Mangle, captain of Afghanistan won the toss & decided to bat first. Umar Gul bought breakthrough for Pakistan in the 5th over by taking the catch of Noor Ali on his own ball.
But then Afghani batsmen dominated the scene, Mohammad Shahzad was the batsmen who surprised Pakistan & the world by hitting best bowler of the world; Saeed Ajmal for SIX with a reverse sweep. It was an unbelievable shot & even the bowler was stunned.
Shahid Afridi was brought in the scene quickly to remove threatening Shahzad for 20. Afghani skipper Nawroz Mangal also played spin nicely but then missed a good ball by Afridi & was clean bowled.
Karim Sadiq was awesome with the bat, he hit 2 FOURS & 2 SIXES during his innings of 40. But got caught behind on a quick delivery of Afridi. The score of Afghanistan was 88/4 in 15.5 overs.
Gulbodin Naib failed to made an impact & was trapped in front of stumps by Afridi. Mohamamd Nabi & Samiullah then took singles & doubles to strengthen their partnership, they were looking good to cross 220. Mohammad Hafeez & Shoaib Malik were trying hard to break this partnership.
In the 22nd over, Mohamamd Nabi got run-out when he was trying to take a single. He hit 2 SIXES in his 37 runs & 75 min. stay at the crease. This was the breakthrough which Pakistan was looking for.
There was a 3rd powerplay hanging in between both teams, Afghanistan was looking to fancy its chances but both batsmen Samiullah & Mirwais played diligently. There was a good display of bowling by Wahab Riaz & Saeed Ajmal, both bowlers kept things tight & close.
The scripture of destiny was a bit different, it was coded with a 5-wicket haul of Afridi. Mirwais became Boom Boom’s 5th victim in result of an lbw shout. Afghanistan which was looking good was down to 165/7.
Then Wahab Riaz cleaned up the tail by picking up two wickets & Umar Gul with one. Afghanistan which was looking for something over 220 was bowled out for 195 in 48.3 overs.
In reply, Pakistan lost its 1st wicket in the form of Mohammad Hafeez who failed to cope with a good ball of Dawlat & was bowled because of an inside edge.
Imran Farhat & Asad Shafiq tried to be positive & hit a couple of shots towards fence. Dawlat was fancied with another wicket for bowling on good line & length, Asad was given lbw out at the score of 20 (5 FOURS).
Younis Khan then came in to support Imran who was playing good cover drives, both added 57 runs together. The innings of Imran Farhat came to an end in 22nd over when he pushed the ball back to the bowler (Samiullah). It was a soft dismissal, Farhat scored 52 runs off 67 balls & hit 9 FOURS.
Pakistani captain Misbah-ul-Haq was the new batsman, he was looking aggressive. He & Younis than gave nothing to Afghani bowlers but a lot of FOURS. There was a tough chance in 32nd over when Younis got an outside edge, keeper dived towards his right but only managed to touch the ball with his gloves, may be he was too late to react.
Younis Khan (70) & Misbah-ul-Haq (40) steered Pakistan to victory with 7 wicket in hand. Afghanistani players didn’t give up till the end of the match, they were throwing themselves in the field & showed the world that they can be a better side.
Pakistan scored 198/3 in 37.1 overs. Dawlat Zadran took 2 wickets for 38 in 9 overs & Samiullah Shenwari took 1 wicket for 22 in 4 overs. Afghani bowlers gave 8 extra-runs.
It was no doubt a good effort by Afghanistan who was playing first ODI match against a high profile test playing nation. They’ll learn lessons from this defeat as they’ve a bright future knocking at their door. Hopefully, they will be prepared for the ICC World Twenty20 2012 Qualifer which will start from March 13, 2012 here in UAE.
Pakistan will be looking ahead to play the ODI series against England which will start on February 13, 2012 at Abu Dhabi.
HQ Photo Gallery: Click here & enjoy.
Result: Pakistan won by 7 wickets.
Man Of The Match: Shahid Afridi (Pakistan).
Comments by both captains & man of the match:
Nawroz Mangal (Captain of Afghanistan): ”Performance was satisfactory. Unfortunately our batting wasn’t great. If we play consistently against teams like Pakistan we will get better and do well in the World Cup qualifiers. I would like to thank the PCB and I would like the ICC to present us with more opportunities.”
Misbah-ul-Haq (Captain of Pakistan): ”Happy to see the spirit of the Afghan team. They way they started, I was a bit surprised. When they played T20 in Pakistan they were exciting. We got in Shoaib Malik because he’s another spin option and also a lower-order batter.”
Shahid Afridi (Man Of The Match): ”Good practice for the upcoming games. Dressing room atmosphere is perfect. I’m working on my batting with Ijaz Ahmed (batting coach).”