Afghanistan’s Hashmatullah Shahidi in action during their warm-up match against Pakistan in Bristol on Friday. Agence France-Presse
Afghanistan defeated Pakistan by three wickets in their World Cup warm-up match at Bristol County Ground on Friday. In reply to Pakistan’s 262 all out in 47.5 overs, Afghanistan scored 263 for seven wickets, reaching the target with two balls to spare.
Afghanistan got off to a blazing start, with the first wicket partnership yielding 80 runs in only 11.1 overs. Hazratullah Zazai was the first to go, caught by Shoab Malik off Shadab Khan’s bowling, but not before contributing a quickfire 49 (28 balls) with the help of 8 fours and 2 sixes. Earlier, Zazai lost his opening partner and team wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad retired hurt in the seventh over, after the latter had scored 23 (25 balls).
However, Rahmat Shah who came in after Shahzad’s departure, also contributed a slow yet useful 32 (49).
Hashmatullah Shahidi, who came in at the fall of Zazai’s wicket, patiently went about consolidating Afghanistan’s position. Thanks to his 102-ball 74-run knock, his team were able to reach their target.
The other notable contributors to the winning cause were Mohammad Nabi (34 off 41 balls) and Samiullah Shenwari (22 of 34).
Earlier, Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed had won the toss and elected to bat first.
One-down Babar Azam top-scored with a 108-ball 112 runs, reaching his century in a rather sluggishly manner as he was forced to glue the innings together while the rest of the Pakistan batting faltered before the Afghanistan bowling.
Shoaib Malik scored 44 runs off 59 deliveries, while opener Imam-ul-Haq added a 35-ball 32 to the total.
Ace Afghanistan spinner Mohammad Nabi picked up three wickets for 46 in his 10 overs, while Dawlat Zadran and Rashid Khan picked up two wickets each for 37 and 27 runs respectively.
Pakistan came into the match after a series rout at the hands of England, which saw England claiming a 4-0 series win.
Afghanistan came into the game after victories against Scotland and Ireland.
Asif Ali was not taking part in Friday’s match after his two-year-old daughter passed away on Monday.
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I first stepped foot on Afghan soil in 1988, and in the months that followed, I worked from a Mujahideen camp on the border with Pakistan running clinics for refugee women fleeing the Afghan-Soviet war.
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