Pakistan avoided a huge shock to keep their chances of reaching the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup alive with a nervy three-wicket win over Afghanistan in Leeds on Saturday.
Afghanistan looked on course for their first victory of the tournament as Pakistan fell to 156-6 chasing a total of 228, but 49 not out from Imad Wasim saw the 1992 champions over the line with two balls to spare. (AFP, Leeds)
Nabi, Mujeeb strike to slow Pakistan WC chase
Afghanistan spinners Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman took two wickets each to slow Pakistan's progress in the World Cup match at Headingley on Saturday.
A third straight victory for Pakistan would see them leapfrog England and move into fourth place in the 10-team table after a poor start to the tournament.
Afghanistan managed 227 for nine in their 50 overs and Pakistan, who have never lost a one-day international to their neighbours, were cruising at 72-1 in reply.
But Nabi struck with the last ball of the 16th over when he lured Imam-ul-Haq from the crease and had the left-hander stumped by Ikram Alikhil for 36.
In his next over he bowled Pakistan's in-form Babar Azam, who departed after scoring an attractive 51-ball 45.
Babar and Imam had steadied the ship after Pakistan lost opener Fakhar Zaman for a duck off the second ball of the innings, trapped leg-before by spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman. After that Mujeeb also picked up the wicket of Hafeez on 19 in the 30th over. (AFP, Birmingham)
Afghanistan post 227 for nine against Pakistan
Afghanistan have posted 227 for nine against Pakistan at Headingley in Leeds today.
In what is a dead rubber for bottom placed Afghanistan, they managed to post a below-par 227 for nine against Pakistan. Afghanistan had slumped to three for 57 in the 12th over but contributions from Asghar Afghan (42 off 35), Najibullah Zadran (42 off 54) and an unbeaten 19 off 32 from Samiullah Shinwari saw them post a modest total.
Afridi takes a brace as Afghanistan slump to 77 for three
Shaheen Afridi scalped two wickets in consecutive balls to put Pakistan in the driving seat. Afghanistan are 77 for three at the end of 15 overs.
Afghanistan openers Rahmat Shah and skipper Gulbadin Naib looked to start off strong but consecutive wickets by Shaheen Afridi put a setback to their plans.
Being hit for a ten in the first three balls, Afridi came back strong to scalp the wickets off the next two balls of Gulbadin and the Hashmatullah Shahidi, who went out for a duck.
Rahmat Shah was caught at short cover as Imaad Wasim claimed his first wicket of the day.
Asgar Afghan and Ikram Alikhil are in the middle trying to build a partnership to take Afghanistan to a fighting total.
Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib won the toss and decided to bat in the World Cup match against Pakistan at Headingley on Saturday.
Pakistan, who have seven points from as many games and are in contention for the semi-finals, kept an unchanged side from the one that beat New Zealand by six wickets at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
Afghanistan brought in fast bowler Hamid Hassan in place of Dawlat Zadran from the line up which lost to Bangaldesh.
Title holders Australia are the only side to have already qualified for the semi-finals in the 10-team competition.
"We wanted to bat first but unfortunately toss is not in our hands. Our bowling line-up is bowling well so hopefully they'll restrict them. Our momentum is very high, but we're focusing on this match, not focusing too far. Wahab had a bit of an issue but he's fine and playing today. We're going with the same team." said Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed.
"The wicket looks good, it's a sunny day. The wicket will help the spinners in the second innings. Pakistan is a good side, they've played plenty of good games. We beat them in the warm-up so we'll put our 100 percent in this game. Hamid is back in the side, in place of Dawlat. We'll try to put a good total on the board, so that it's better for the spinners." said captain of the Afghanistan side, Gulbadin Naib.
Pakistan: 1 Imam-ul-Haq, 2 Fakhar Zaman, 3 Babar Azam, 4 Mohammad Hafeez, 5 Haris Sohail, 6 Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt & wk), 7 Imad Wasim, 8 Shadab Khan, 9 Mohammad Amir, 10 Wahab Riaz, 11 Shaheen Afridi
Afghanistan: 1 Gulbadin Naib (capt), 2 Rahmat Shah, 3 Hashmatullah Shahidi, 4 Asghar Afghan, 5 Samiullah Shinwari, 6 Mohammad Nabi, 7 Najibullah Zadran, 8 Ikram Alikhil (wk), 9 Rashid Khan, 10 Hamid Hassan, 11 Mujeeb Ur Rahman
More to follow....