Naseem the hero again as Pakistan win thriller by one wicket

Hambantota (Agenices): Pakistan clinched a last-over epic thriller against Afghanistan to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the ODI series, in Hambantota on Thursday. Chasing 301, Pakistan, somehow, narrowly escaped a defeat and kept their unbeaten ODI record intact against the hosts, having registered their sixth win in as many games.

The match came down to 11 runs needed off the final over and Shadab Khan going strong at 48*. Pakistan had two wickets in hand. But Fazalhaq Farooqi ran the allrounder out backing up off his first ball. Shadab was way out of the crease before Farooqi delivered the ball and replays confirmed the run-out. The equation soon came down to six off three balls with Haris Rauf on strike. A misfield in the deep then helped Pakistan fetch three runs and with three needed off two balls and just a wicket in hand, Naseem Shah’s mistimed flick over short third took the visitors home.

It meant a memorable batting performance by Afghanistan went in vain. Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s epic 151 and Ibrahim Zadran’s classy 80 had led the team to 300 for 5 after they were bowled out for 59 in the opening ODI. But in the end, it wasn’t enough to notch up their first victory over Pakistan in this format.
Zadran also hit out brilliantly, knocking 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 lanky pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi dismissed Gurbaz caught behind in the 45th over. Shaheen also had Rashid Khan out for two to finish with 2-58. Mohammad Nabi made a run-a-ball 29 before he was caught off Naseem Shah as Afghanistan piled up 73 runs in the last ten 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.