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Naseem Shah’s Heroics Secure Unassailable Lead for Pakistan in ODI Series against Afghanistan

Date: August 25, 2023

Adding to their remarkable victory in the first match, Pakistan clinched yet another thrilling win against Afghanistan in the second One-Day International (ODI) match, held in Hambantota, Sri Lanka on Thursday.

Continuing their strong momentum after a 142-run win in the first ODI, the Pakistani team managed to secure the series with their outstanding performance.

Naseem Shah, who had previously led Pakistan to victory against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup 2022, once again emerged as the key player, steering the Green Shirts to a nail-biting win in the final over, with Pakistan needing 11 runs off 6 balls.

While chasing a target of 301 runs, Pakistan lost Fakhar Zaman early for 52 runs. However, Imam-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam’s partnership of 118 runs put Pakistan in a commanding position.

Babar’s dismissal after completing his half-century led to a series of wickets falling for the Pakistani side. Despite the pressure, Shadab Khan’s valuable contribution of 48 runs off 35 balls revived Pakistan’s chances.

The final over of the match witnessed intense drama as Fazalhaq was running towards the crease to deliver the ball. He managed to dismiss Shadab, who was on the non-striker’s end. However, Naseem Shah took charge, displaying exceptional composure and guiding Pakistan to victory.

In the first innings, Afghanistan’s opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz showcased a brilliant batting display by scoring 151 runs, enabling Afghanistan to set a target of 300-5 in 50 overs.

Afghanistan’s opening pair, consisting of Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran, constructed a monumental partnership of 227 runs. Despite Zadran’s dismissal at 80 runs, Gurbaz continued his aggressive batting, scoring a run-a-ball 150 before being caught by Shaheen Shah Afridi in the 45th over. Gurbaz’s explosive knock included 14 boundaries and three maximums.

Shaheen Shah Afridi took two wickets, while Naseem Shah and Usama Mir contributed with one wicket each.

Afghanistan made changes to their lineup, with Riaz Hassan and Shahid Kamal replacing Rahmat Shah and Azmatullah Omarzai from the first ODI. Pakistan, on the other hand, remained unchanged for the match.

Playing XI:

Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt), Ikram Alikhil, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Abdul Rahman, Shahid Kamal, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Shadab Khan, Usama Mir, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf.

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