In a thrilling encounter, the second ODI between Pakistan and Afghanistan unfolded in Hambantota, Sri Lanka. Pakistan emerged victorious by a narrow one-wicket margin, securing an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. The match was not short on drama, as the chase of a 301-run target took the game down to the wire.
As Pakistan pursued the target, they managed to reach it in the 49.5th over amid a tense atmosphere. The final over of the match witnessed a contentious moment that showcased the exceptional game awareness of Afghanistan’s bowler Fazalhaq Farooqi. With Pakistan requiring 11 runs off the last six balls, an incident unfolded involving Shadab Khan.
Shadab Khan, who had been aggressive in his batting, scored 48 off 35 balls. However, he was found to be backing up too far on the first ball of the over. In a remarkable display of awareness, Farooqi ran him out while delivering the first ball. Though Afghanistan celebrated the dismissal, Shadab waited for the TV umpire’s decision. The review confirmed the run-out, setting the stage for a tense conclusion. However, Naseem Shah’s batting prowess eventually steered Pakistan to victory.
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Earlier in the game, Afghanistan’s opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz played a swashbuckling inning, scoring a career-best 151 runs. Gurbaz displayed an aggressive run-a-ball century and formed a formidable opening partnership of 227 runs with Ibrahim Zadran, who contributed an 80-run knock off 101 balls. This partnership came after Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat.
Gurbaz’s explosive inning included 14 boundaries and three sixes, a remarkable performance against a formidable Pakistani bowling attack that had previously dismissed Afghanistan for a mere 59 runs. His previous best was a 145 against Bangladesh in Chattogram. Zadran also showcased his batting prowess, hitting six boundaries and two sixes.
Spinner Usama Mir managed to break the opening partnership by dismissing Zadran in the 40th over, while Shaheen Shah Afridi, the lanky pacer, dismissed Gurbaz, who was caught behind, in the 45th over. The match proved to be an exhilarating contest that showcased the intensity of the Pakistan-Afghanistan rivalry on the cricket field.