Pakistan registered a thrilling win over Afghanistan in their last game at Headingley, Leeds on June 29 where Imad Wasim & Shaheen Afridi made the winning foundation for their team. With this win, Pakistan kept their hope alive for the semi-finals.
Afghanistan won the toss and opted to bat first. Openers Rahmat Shah and Gulabdin Naib got off to a steady start where they added 27 runs before Naib’s dismissal for 12 when Shaheen Afridi provided the first breakthrough to his team. Afridi struck again in the next ball and Hashmatullah Shahidi fell for a duck.
Shah then tried to build a partnership with Ikram Ali Khil, adding 30 runs before the former became the victim of Imad Wasim. Later, a 64-run partnership came from Khil and Asghar Afghan, who scored a quickfire 42 off 35, including 3 boundaries and 2 sixes. Najibullah Zadran scored a stable 42 off 54 before Shaheen Afridi dismissed him.
Their effort took the side to a mere total of 227 after 50 overs. Shaheen Afridi bagged 4 wickets while Imad Wasim and Wahab Riaz picked up 2 each and Shadab Khan took 1 for Pakistan.
While chasing a mere total, Pakistan needed a steady start but they got the big blow when Mujeeb Ur Rahman trapped in-form Fakhar Zaman before the stumps for a 2-ball duck. Later, Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam steadied the ship with 72 runs. However, Mohammad Nabi dismissed both of them in his consecutive overs for 36 and 45 runs respectively.
Pressure fell on the middle orders but Mohammad Hafeez and in-form Haris Sohail failed to score freely in front of the economic spells of Afghan bowlers. Afghanistan nearly pulled off the game when their restricted bowling left Pakistan in the struggle. Pakistan needed 52 runs in 42 balls when the next overs they conceded mere 8 runs.
Pressure started increasing on Pakistan but 46th over changed all the equation. Afghanistan captain Gulabdin Naib came to bowl where he conceded three boundaries and gave away 18 runs and the equation became nearly equal for Pakistan as they needed 28 runs in 24 balls.
Though Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman tried their best to restrict Pakistan, Imad Wasim played a crucial knock of 49* and took the team over the finish line. Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi bagged 2 wickets each while Rashid Khan took 1 for Afghanistan.