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CWC'19: Pakistan defeat Afghanistan in a thriller, go past England in tournament standings


ANI Cricket
Pakistan went past England to get to the fourth spot in the tournament standings as they defeated Afghanistan by three wickets in the ongoing ICC Men's Cricket World Cup in Headingley on Saturday.
Pakistan has now moved to the fourth spot with 9 points. The team's win has now created more pressure on England to register a positive result in the match against India. If England fails to do so, their chances of qualifying for semis would become very tough.
Chasing 228, Pakistan lost its opener Fakhar Zaman (0) on the second ball of their innings as he was caught plum in front by Afghan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Zaman decided to review the decision, but replays clearly showed that the ball would go on to hit the stumps and hence he was adjudged leg-before-wicket.
The in-form batsman Babar Azam joined Imam-ul-Haq in the middle and the duo mixed caution with aggression to steady the innings for Pakistan. Both batsmen added 72 runs together, but their resistance was cut short as both Imam and Babar departed in quick succession. Mohammad Nabi sent both the batsmen to the pavilion.
Mohammad Hafeez and Haris Sohail retrieved the innings as they stitched a 40-run partnership for Pakistan. In the 29th over Samiullah Shinwari had Sohail strangled down the leg side, but the umpire ruled the batsman not out. Afghanistan had no reviews left up their sleeve, and the replays clearly showed that Sohail had knicked the ball.
But this reprieve did not cost Afghanistan much, as Mujeeb dismissed Hafeez (19) almost immediately. In-form Sohail (27) was dismissed by Rashid Khan in the 35th over as he had Sohail plum-in-front, to reduce Pakistan 142/5, with the team still requiring 86 runs for the win.
Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed (18) also failed to leave a mark as he was run-out in the 39th over, throwing the cat among the pigeons. Shadab Khan joined Imad Wasim in the middle and the duo played cautiously at first, but Wasim smashed 18 runs in the 45th over to give Pakistan an upper hand.
As soon as the match started tilting towards Pakistan, Afghanistan clawed their back as Shadab (11) was run out with the team still requiring 22 runs for the win. However, Imad Wasim and Wahab Riaz ensured Pakistan's victory by three wickets with two balls to spare. Wasim and Wahab remained unbeaten on 49 and 15 respectively.
Earlier, Pakistan displayed a spirited bowling performance to restrict Afghanistan to 227 runs for the loss of nine wickets in the allotted fifty overs after being asked to bowl first.
Gulbadin Naib and Rahmat Shah stitched a brief 27-partnership at the top, but as soon as Afghanistan started hoping for a good powerplay stint, Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi pegged Afghanistan back as he scalped consecutive wickets of Naib (15) and Hashmatullah Shahidi (0).
Shah and Ikram Alikhil put up a 30-run stand, but their resistance was cut short by spinner Wasim as he dismissed Shah (35) in the 12th over, reducing Afghanistan to 57/3. Former skipper Asghar Afghan came out to bat next and he provided solidarity to Afghanistan innings. He along with Alikhil put up a 64-run stand.
Afghan (42) and Alikhil (24) were sent back to the pavilion in quick succession. Afghan was dismissed by Shadab whereas Alikhil was sent back by Wasim. As a result, half of Afghanistan side went back to the pavilion for just 125 runs on the board.
Mohammad Nabi (16) and Samiullah Shinwari (19) played cameos to take the team past the 200-run mark. But it was Najibullah Zadran who ensured the team posted a total of more than 220 runs. Zadran (42) was dismissed in the 45th over by Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Shaheen Shah Afridi took the maximum wickets for Pakistan as he scalped four Afghanistan batsmen.
Afghanistan next takes on West Indies on July 4 whereas Pakistan will face Bangladesh on July 7.
Brief Scores: Pakistan 230/7 (Imad Wasim 49*, Babar Azam 45, Mohammad Nabi 2-23) beat Afghanistan 227/9 (Asghar Afghan 42, Najibullah Zadran 42, Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-47) by three wickets.

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First Published: Jun 29 2019 | 10:33 PM IST

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