Afghanistan and Pakistan in Sri Lanka, 3 ODI Series, 2023 |2nd ODI |8/24/2023 Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Hambantota
Right then, that is it from the exciting game of cricket and Afghanistan have shown that they can seriously challenge the big boys in the 50-over format as well. The caravan now moves to Colombo for the third and final game of the series and that will be played on Saturday, 26 August and will begin at 3 pm IST (9.30 am GMT). Do join us for the early build-up though. Cheers!
Babar Azam, the skipper of Afghanistan says that it was a similar scenario to the game they lost in the World Cup but they managed to get the win. Adds that it was about keeping patience and reckoned that even if they needed 80-90 runs in the last ten overs they could win. Goes on to applaud Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan and says that Naseem Shah has a habit of finishing games off. Says that they always look to improve and get the little things done and mentions that he needs to improve his own batting as well. Ends by saying that they will look to carry the momentum in the final game and look to win it.
Afghanistan's captain Hashmatullah Shahidi says that it hurts after losing and especially after being in control of the game. He adds that he felt the pressure in the 49th over when they were smashed for many runs. He credits the openers for building a strong opening partnership for Afghanistan. He mentions that they couldn't control the pressure and that the matches between Afghanistan and Pakistan have a great spirit of competition
Shadab Khan is the PLAYER OF THE MATCH for his crucial contribution with the bat. He starts by praising the almighty and says that practice is the key and that it was his day today. He adds that he batted according to the conditions and the dimensions made him go for two's. He mentions that he remembers the shot against Zimbabwe which made them lose the game and reminds himself never to repeat that action again.
The Presentation ceremony...
Earlier in the game, Hashmatullah Shahidi won the toss and Afghanistan batted first. Having been bundled out for just 59 runs in the first ODI, the Afghan batters turned on the heat on a track that looked good for batting and put on a big, big stand to set up the innings brilliantly. Ibrahim Zadran fell short of a hundred but Rahmanullah Gurbaz did get to the landmark and even got to 150. The latter batters though weren't quite able to kick on and they just about managed to cross the 300-run mark. The Pakistan pacers couldn't quite replicate the showing from the last game they did manage to pick up wickets at the death and Shaheen Afridi in particular impressed at the death. In reply, the game ebbed and flowed nicely but in the end, the hosts just couldn't hold their nerve and the more experienced side got over the line.
Afghanistan will be absolutely gutted here and the despair on Rahmanullah Gurbaz's face confirms the same. Afghanistan had the runs on the board but the wicket looked excellent for batting as well. They didn't get an early breakthrough but Fazalhaq Farooqi did manage to knock over Fakhar Zaman. After this, wickets were hard to come by till the 30th over but once again Farooqi was brought back into the attack and got the big wicket of Babar Azam. From there on, the hosts managed to pick up wickets at crucial stages in the game and once Imam-ul-Haq got out, they seemed to be on top. But they had to keep their patience and wait for their chances which did come and Farooqi was at the forefront of it all in the last over as he sent back Shadab at the start of the over but then crumbled under pressure and conceded a couple of boundaries which lost his side the game.
Naseem Shah takes off his gloves and runs away on the field as the dressing room erupts and this is not the first time he has done it as well. Pakistan began this mammoth chase on the right foot as the openers put on a steady stand. Imam-ul-Haq looked fluent but Fakhar Zaman was able to muster runs even though he struggled quite a bit. Then Imam and skipper Babar Azam added on 118 runs for the second wicket to put Pakistan in cruise control. They did lose three quick wickets as Imam fell before what would have been a classy ton but that lower order came in handy as Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan added on a vital 47-run stand. Shadab went berserk in the penultimate over to put his side in front only to be run out 'Mankad' style but a couple of good shots and a healthy edge on the penultimate ball gave Pakistan the victory.
OH, MY GOD! What an end to this riveting contest and you cannot script this, it is just a finish no one expected. Afghanistan are left heartbroken as Naseem Shah celebrates in ecstasy and Pakistan seal the three-match series 2-0.
Fazalhaq Farooqi to Naseem Shah, FOUR! Naseem Shah has done the job for Pakistan! Fazalhaq Farooqi bowls this full and outside off. Unlucky for him the ball deflects off the outside edge of Naseem Shah's bat. The fielder is in the 30-yard circle so the ball races away to the third-man fence for four. Pakistan wins the match by 1 wicket and 1 ball to spare in unreal fashion.
Fazalhaq Farooqi to Haris Rauf, Slow and short again on off. Haris Rauf pulls it away in the gap at deep mid-wicket. One fielder fumbles as the other one runs and cuts off the ball from reaching the fence. The batters have run 3. This will go till the last ball it seems as 4 runs are needed off 2 balls.
Fazalhaq Farooqi to Naseem Shah, Slow again and outside off. Naseem Shah punches it down for a single.
Fazalhaq Farooqi to Naseem Shah, Fuller and on off. Naseem Shah swings and misses. 7 needed now off 4 balls.
Fazalhaq Farooqi to Naseem Shah, FOUR! Fazalhaq Farooqi bowls this fuller and on off. Naseem Shah smashes it over the infield and covers. The ball bounces before crossing the fence for four runs.
END OF OVER 49 | 16 Runs & 0 Wkt | PAK 290/8
Oh, what's happened here? Fazalhaq Farooqi with a cheeky attempt at the 'Mankad' and the umpires have gone upstairs. Shadab Khan is well out of his crease but it is the action of the bowler that is in question. Farooqi, at no point, goes over the perpendicular and is well aware of what he wants to do here. It is signaled as OUT and rightly so in line with the rules but certainly, this moment will be discussed thoroughly after the game, especially given the stage of the game and how well Shadab was batting. Also, Haris Rauf walks out to bat now.
OUT! Here comes the controversy as Shadab Khan has been Mankaded. It's smart work by the bowler, observed that the non-striker batter was venturing out of the crease too much and the bowler wasted no time in taking the bails off at the bowler's end. As always, the debate will go on as many feel that Mankading is against the spirit of the game but ICC have kept it legal.
Abdul Rahman to Shadab Khan, SIX! SMASHED AWAY! Another full toss this time higher. Shadab Khan muscles this on the on side over the mid-wicket area all they way beyond the fence for a maximum. 11 are needed in the last over.
Abdul Rahman to Shadab Khan, FOUR! A low full toss on the pads by Abdul Rahman. Shadab Khan will not miss that and he waits for the ball. He pulls it away in the gap at deep mid-wicket. The ball is far from the fielder as it runs to the fence for four runs.
Abdul Rahman to Shadab Khan, Full again and on middle. Shadab Khan punches it to long on for yet another couple of runs. That is good running.
Abdul Rahman to Shadab Khan, Full and quick on leg. Shadab Khan shuffles away and drives it to mid off for another two runs.
Abdul Rahman to Shadab Khan, Shorter and on off. Shadab Khan pulls it away to deep mid-wicket and sets off for a quick couple of runs as he dives to complete the second.
Abdul Rahman to Shadab Khan, A low full toss very wide of leg stump. Shadab Khan reaches it with a sweep to short fine leg. He declines a single and stays on strike.
END OF OVER 48 | 6 Runs & 1 Wkt | PAK 274/8
Fazalhaq Farooqi to Shadab Khan, Short on leg. Shadab Khan pulls it away to deep square leg for a single to end the over. Shadab Khan will keep the strike.