ICC World Cup 2019: Afghanistan stun Pakistan by 3 wickets in first warm-up game 

Babar Azam
Babar Azam
Pavan Suresh

Afghanistan stunned Pakistan by 3 wickets in the first warm-up game of the ICC World Cup 2019, played at County Ground in Bristol on Friday.

Pakistani captain Sarfaraz Ahmed won the toss and decided to bat first. Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul- Haq got the team off to a steady start, adding 47 runs for the opening wicket. Hamid Hassan got the breakthrough by dismissing Imam for 19, and at the end of 10 overs Pakistan were 53 for 1.

After the power play, Mohammad Nabi dismissed Zaman and Haris Sohail in the same over to put Pakistan under pressure at 65 for 3. But Babar Azam coming in at number 3 looked positive right from the word go. He reached his fifty off 51 balls and looked the most solid of all batsmen on show.

The experienced Shoaib Malik scored 44 and added 103 runs for the 5th wicket with Azam, who went on to reach his century off 99 balls. But the Afghanistani bowlers put in a good performance at the end as they bowled out Pakistan for 262 in 47.5 overs.

For Afghanistan, Nabi was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 46, while Dawlat Zadran and Rashid Khan took 2 wickets each.

Chasing a target of 263 runs, Mohammad Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai got off to the perfect start before Shahzad had to retire hurt due to an injury. Zazai continued playing with positive intent though, and his clean hitting took Afghanistan to 78 for 0 in 10 overs.

After the power play, Shadab Khan got the breakthrough by dismissing Zazai for 49, with the score reading 80. Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi then added 39 runs for the 2nd wicket before Wahab Riaz dismissed Shah for 32.

The left-handed Shahidi steadied the innings and put up another important partnership with Samiullah Shenwari, adding 49 runs for the 3rd wicket.

Imad Wasim dismissed Shenwari and Asghar Afghan to bring Pakistan back into the game, but Shahidi and the experienced Mohammad Nabi took on the bowlers. Shahidi reached his fifty off 81 balls, and he added 66 runs for the 5th wicket with Nabi before the latter was dismissed by Mohammad Hasnain.

Wahab Riaz then bowled a brilliant spell, getting the wickets of Gulbadin Naib and Najibullah Zadran. But with 4 runs required off the final over, Shahidi and Rashid Khan managed to calmly finish the job.

Afghanistan ended up winning the match by 3 wickets, with 2 balls to spare.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 263 for 7 in 49.4 overs (Hashmatullah Shahidi 74*, Hazratullah Zazai 49, Mohammad Nabi 34, Wahab Riaz 3/46, Imad Wasim 2/29) beat Pakistan 262 in 47.5 overs (Babar Azam 112, Shoaib Malik 44, Mohammad Nabi 3/46, Rashid Khan 2/27) by 3 wickets.

Edited by Musab Abid


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