Thrilling Victory for Pakistan as Naseem Late Show Seals the Deal Against Afghanistan in Second ODI Clash
In an electrifying cricket showdown, Pakistan’s number ten batsman, Naseem Shah, smashed a boundary off the second-to-last delivery, propelling his team to a sensational one-wicket triumph over a resilient Afghanistan in the second One Day International (ODI) match held at Hambantota on a Thursday.
The 20-year-old Naseem Shah displayed nerves of steel as he managed to guide the ball to the boundary despite a slight misjudgment, securing Pakistan’s win in dramatic fashion. The team successfully chased down a target of 303 runs, with a nail-biting final over that saw them score 11 runs and finish at 302-9 in 49.5 overs.
This exhilarating victory not only provided Pakistan with a triumphant edge but also solidified their lead with a 2-0 advantage in the ongoing three-match series against Afghanistan. The series will conclude with the third and final match set to take place in Colombo on an upcoming Saturday.
Naseem Shah’s heroics overshadowed Afghanistan’s opener, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who displayed exceptional batting prowess with a career-best score of 151 runs from 151 balls. Gurbaz’s remarkable performance played a pivotal role in Afghanistan reaching a competitive total of 300-5 in their allotted 50 overs.
The closing moments of Pakistan’s pursuit were nothing short of riveting. With 27 runs needed to clinch victory, Shadab Khan stepped up, smashing a boundary and a six off the final two balls of the 49th over, narrowing the gap significantly.
Adding more intrigue to the spectacle, Fazalhaq Farooqi executed a Mankad dismissal on Shadab Khan with the first ball of the last over, creating a tense atmosphere. However, Naseem Shah showcased his mettle by hitting two crucial boundaries in that decisive over, sealing the victory for Pakistan.
Shadab Khan’s contributions
Shadab Khan’s contributions cannot be overlooked, as his 35-ball 48, comprising three boundaries and a six, revitalized Pakistan’s chase when they were struggling at 258-7. Prior to this fightback, Imam-ul-Haq laid the groundwork with a resilient 91 runs off 105 balls, supported by four boundaries. Imam-ul-Haq’s partnership with Fakhar Zaman (30) and skipper Babar Azam (53 off 66 balls) set a strong foundation for Pakistan’s innings.
However, Afghanistan’s fightback halted Pakistan’s progress, taking five wickets within 41 runs and reducing them to 211-6 from a promising 170-1. Farooqi’s dismissal of Babar Azam and Nabi’s double wicket blow further dented Pakistan’s momentum, leading to a tense situation.
Naseem Shah’s boundary-laden finale turned the tables in Pakistan’s favor, ultimately securing a remarkable one-wicket victory. His strategic hits against the final over propelled Pakistan to surpass the target in an exhilarating manner.
The stage was initially set by Afghanistan’s 21-year-old opener, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who partnered with Ibrahim Zadran to establish a robust opening stand of 227 runs. Zadran’s composed innings of 80 runs off 101 balls complemented Gurbaz’s explosive performance. Against Pakistan’s world-class bowling attack, which had previously reduced Afghanistan to a mere 59 runs in the previous game, Gurbaz’s resilient batting was noteworthy.
Gurbaz’s previous highest score was 145, achieved against Bangladesh in Chattogram the previous month. His partnership with Zadran, who contributed with six boundaries and two sixes, proved instrumental in Afghanistan’s innings.
As the match intensified, Pakistan’s spinner, Usama Mir, broke the opening partnership by dismissing Zadran for a well-crafted 80. Pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi also made his mark, removing Gurbaz for a total of 151 runs. Shaheen’s bowling effort earned him figures of 2-58, further showcasing his significance.
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Amidst Afghanistan’s final push, spinner Naseem Shah claimed the wicket of Mohammad Nabi, who had scored 29 runs off 29 balls. Afghanistan managed to accumulate 73 runs in the last ten overs, propelling their total to a competitive 300.
It’s worth mentioning that fast bowler Haris Rauf, who displayed an outstanding performance in the previous match with a career-best 5-18, faced tougher luck this time, conceding 48 runs in seven overs without taking a wicket. Despite this setback, the dramatic turn of events and Naseem Shah’s match-winning display made the contest truly unforgettable.