- Sinchan Saha | March 25, 2023 | 7:01 am
On Friday, Afghanistan won the first Twenty20 international of a three-game series against Pakistan by six wickets, led by Mohammad Nabi. This is Afghanistan’s first Twenty20 international victory over Pakistan in four games.
On a slow, low pitch at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Pakistan struggled against the Afghans, whose six bowlers shared all nine wickets, without five rested frontline players, including captain Babar Azam.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat at Sharjah Stadium, Pakistan restricted Nabi’s team to 92-9 with a score of 2-12, with assistance from Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2-9) and pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi (2-13).
After that, Nabi kept his cool with a cautious run-a-ball of 38 not out, and he and Najibullah Zadran (17 not out) added 53 for the fifth wicket to help Afghanistan surpass the target in 17.5 overs.
Nabi got his first boundary off the 27th ball, then he got two more from Naseem Shah in the next over, and Ihsanullah hit a six to win.
Afghanistan overcame a 45-4 deficit in the 10th over to win by six wickets with more than two overs remaining and cruise home at 98-4.
Mohammad Nabi scored a straight six over long off to give Afghanistan its first victory over Pakistan in five attempts over the past decade
“Pleasure to win, as we’ve always lost against them by small margins. Wearing Afghanistan colors and leading the team in a win is a proud achievement. We never know the wicket . . . (but the) mindset was . . . to adjust accordingly.”Afghanistan skipper Rashid Khan said.
The remaining two T20 matches on Sunday and Monday offer Afghanistan a chance to win the series for the first time. On a pitch with two paces, Pakistan’s batters were unable to accelerate, and the majority were dismissed softly.
Saim Ayub and Mohammad Haris, in place of the formidable openers Babar and Mohammad Rizwan, were unable to gauge the low bounce and fell inside the batting powerplay while attempting extravagant shots.
Abdullah Shafique was stuck by Azmatullah Omarzai for 0 and Tayyab Tahir, one of four making their Pakistan debut, heaved a return catch to Rashid Khan. Pakistan was 41-5 in the eighth over after Azam Khan was also out for a duck in his debut.
Imad Wasim, who scored the most runs with 18, saved Pakistan from posting its lowest T20 total of 74 against Australia in Dubai in 2012.
“Sometimes this can happen due to youngsters being nervous, but they need to be given chances. As professionals, we can’t give excuses regarding conditions, we have to learn from the loss here.”interim captain Shadab Khan said.
Fazalhaq Farooqi defeated the unconventional spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman with a score of 2-13.
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Ihsanullah, a Pakistani fast bowler making his debut, took two wickets in his first over by throwing short pitches. Soon, Afghanistan was four down, but Nabi, who was 38 not out, and Najibullah Zadran, who was 17 not out, got them over the line.
Ihsanullah came out on top with 2-17
With the first ball of his T201 career, pace bowler Ihsanullah (2-17) bowled out Ibrahim Zadran for nine and then bowled out Gulbadin Naib for nothing, leaving Afghanistan at 45-4, but Nabi and Najibullah ensured victory.
On a slow, low Sharjah Stadium surface that helped Afghanistan’s three-pronged spin attack, Pakistan were 41-5 in the eighth over.
Imad Wasim scored the most runs with 18, followed by Ayub (17), Tahir (16), and captain Shadab Khan (12). In his 15-ball innings, Ayub, who is known for his power hitting, hit two boundaries and a six, while Wasim’s 32-ball innings, which he tried to save, did not have a single boundary.
The highest partnership of the innings was between Wasim and skipper Shadab Khan (12), who added 19 more runs for the sixth wicket. Reviewed power hitter Azam Khan and Abdullah Shafique neglected to score. Pakistan’s other most reduced T201 sums are 74 versus Australia in Dubai 2012, 82 versus West Indies in Dhaka 2014, 83 versus India in Dhaka 2016 and 89 versus Britain in Cardiff in 2010.
The remaining matches will also be played in Sharjah on Sunday and Monday, making this the first bilateral series between the two nations.