Sharjah [United Arab Emirates] : Afghanistan stunned Pakistan by claiming their second victory and securing the three-match T20I series at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
Pakistan certainly felt the absence of their star players Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Afridi in their playing eleven. The opening order of Pakistan fell like a house of cards in the powerplay.
Imad Wasim tried to keep the scoreboard ticking with his unbeaten innings of 64(57)*. But his efforts went in vain due to the lack of support at the other end. Considering the pitch Pakistan bowlers barely had a score to defend. The visitors ended the innings with a score of 130/6. Afghanistan batters had an easy outing as they registered a comfortable victory by seven wickets with a ball to spare (133/3).
After the match, Afghanistan’s skipper reflected on what this victory meant for their team.
“Great honour and pleasure to lead this wonderful team. Great effort with the ball, and then we took it deep and finished it off. This wicket is always a 150-160 wicket. But the Pakistan-Afghanistan game is a pressure game and that makes it 125-130. 130 was a good total, but we tried our best to take it deep and finish it. The strategy was to go there and make sure you take responsibility. Take it deep and try to finish it. We have players to finish it like Nabi and Najib. The main thing was to have wickets in hand,” Rashid said.
On the other hand, disappointed Pakistani skipper Shadab Khan said, “It was a good score. We were struggling again. If you look at the stats, if you lose 3 wickets in the powerplay, you lose 70 per cent of the games. I think there’s nervousness – they’re playing for the first time for Pakistan (the new batters). We have to back them. Sometimes you don’t perform but attitude matters. That’s more important for me. They have talent. They will be great cricketers. Will play for pride tomorrow.”
Afghanistan’s Fazalhaq Farooqi claimed Player of the Match for his heroics with the ball.
In the post-match presentation, he shed some light on his performance and the essence of this victory, “Would like to congratulate everyone back home. A special moment for us. I tried to use the new ball. If it’s swinging, I look to attack and take wickets. Pakistan is a very strong team. It’s always a proud moment to win a match and win a series,” Farooqi said.
Afghanistan will face Pakistan in the third and final T20I match of the series on Monday at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.