Pakistan vs Afghanistan T20 in Sharjah: Pakistan clinch last-ball win over Afghanistan

Hafeez keeps cool to finish with a 37-ball 42 not out

Pakistan overcame stiff resistance from minnows Afghanistan to win the first-ever Twenty20 international between the two countries by six wickets in Sharjah on Sunday.

Chasing a challenging 138-run target, Pakistan were held to the final over of the match and won on a wide off the last delivery of the match.

Skipper Mohammad Hafeez kept his cool to finish with a 37-ball 42 not out as Pakistan needed six off the final over bowled by Dawlat Zadran and one off the last delivery.

Hafeez hit two boundaries and a six during his knock and avoided any major hiccup against a fighting Afghan team.

Pakistan got off to a solid start with a stand of 47 between Ahmed Shehzad (35) and debutant Sharjeel Khan (18) by the eighth over.

Shehzad, who hit six boundaries during his 37-ball knock, holed out while Sharjeel miscued a drive off Mohammad Nabi in the tenth over.

Despite a tight line and length by Afghanistan's bowlers, Hafeez and Akmal kept their cool, taking Pakistan close to their victory target.

Akmal hit two sixes in his 28 off 23 balls.

Afghanistan, who won the toss and batted, had a poor start as they lost both their openers Mohammad Shahzad (two) and Nawroz Mangal (one) by the fifth over.

But Najibullah Zadran (38) and Nabi (15 off ten) gave solidity to the innings, adding 35 for the fourth wicket in quick time.

But once left-arm paceman Junaid Khan came on to bowl he put the brakes on the Afghanistan batting, cleaning Najibullah and Samiullah Sinwari (16) in quick succession to finish with 3-24 in his four overs.

Najibullah hit three boundaries and two well-timed sixes during his 30-ball knock.

Mirwais Ashraf made a 22-ball 28 not out with two boundaries and a six to take Afghanistan to 137-8 - their highest against a Test playing country.

Afghanistan had made 136 against India at Colombo in last year's World Twenty20. Left-arm paceman Sohail Tanvir finished with 2-11 with two of his four overs maidens. 

Pakistan now play Sri Lanka in the two Twenty20 games in Dubai on Wednesday and Friday while Afghanistan take on Ireland in the final of the ICC Inter-Continental Cup in Dubai from Tuesday.

PAKISTAN INNINGS

Pakistan registered a thrilling six-wicket victory over Afghanistan in the one-off Twenty20 match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

Chasing 138 to win, opener Ahmed Shehzad smashed 35 from 37 balls including six boundaries to give a good start for Pakistan.

Mohammad Hafeez scored an unbeaten 42 while Umar Akmal hit a 23-ball 28 as Pakistan overhauled the target in the last ball of the match.

Earlier, Najibullah Zadran scored 38 while Mirwais Ashraf hit a brisk 28 as Afghanistan posted a challenging 137 for eight in 20 overs.

Zadran played 30 balls to hit 38 including three boundaries and two sixes and Ashraf faced 22 balls including two boundaries and one six during his innings.

For Pakistan, Sohail Tanvir claimed two wickets.

It finally goes down the wire as Pakistan register a close win. The last over turned to be a disaster for Afghanistan with two extras. Pak 138-4 in 19.5 overs.

Pakistan must have it easy here unless they make a blunder. Pak 132-4 in 19 overs.

It's getting close. Pakistan are 122 for 3 in 18 overs.

Pakistan are 115 for 3 in 17 overs.

Big wicket for Afghanistan. Akmal goes. Pak 111-3 in 16 overs.

Umar Akmal b Dawlat Zadran 28 (23b 0x4 2x6)

Pakistan reach 94-2 in 15 overs.

Good partnership between Akmal and Hafeez building here. Pak 89-2 in 14 overs.

Pakistan are 80-2 in 13 overs.

Akmal and Hafeez going strong. Pak 73-2 in 12 overs.

Pakistan need over seven runs per over. Pak 69-2 in 11 overs.

Afghanistan get another wicket. But Pakistan in a good position. Pak 65-2 in 10 overs.

Sharjeel Khan c Samiullah Shenwari b Mohammad Nabi 18 (16b 2x4 1x6)

Pakistan need 81 from 12 overs. Pak 57-1 in 8 overs.

Pakistan lose their first wicket. Shehzad was looking good. Pak 49-1 in 7.4 overs.

Ahmed Shehzad c Gulbadin Naib b Samiullah Shenwari 35 (37b 6x4 0x6)

Shehzad reaches 33 from as many balls. Pakistan need 94 from 78 balls. Pak 44-0 in 7 overs.

Two boundaries takes Pakistan to 33 for no loss in 6 overs.

A boundary of the last ball from Hassan and Pakistan are 23-0 in 5 overs.

A good over from Zadran. Pak 18-0 in 4 overs.

Pakistan making a strong chase. Pak 17-0 in 3 overs.

Shehzad showing good form. Gets another boundary. Pak 11-0 in 2 overs.

Shehzad slams a boundary to give Pakistan a positive start. Pak 5-0 in 1 over

AFGHANISTAN INNINGS

Afghanistan manage 137 for eight in 20 overs.

Ashraf gets 10 runs from two balls but Pakistan fight back claiming the wicket of Zadran. Afg 132-8 in 19 overs.

Dawlat Zadran b Junaid Khan 0 (1b 0x4 0x6)

Tanvir claims his second wicket. Afghanistan pushing hard for as many runs possible with just 12 balls remaining. Afg 120-7 in 18 overs.

Gulbadin Naib b Sohail Tanvir 3 (9b 0x4 0x6)

Four leg byes and a boundary from Ashraf ensures Afghanistan reach 114 for 6 in 17 overs.

Afghanistan lose a big wicket. Zadran is gone and more trouble for them. Afg 100-6 in 15.1 overs.

Najibullah Zadran b Junaid Khan 38 (30b, 3x4, 2x6)


Afghanistan reach the three-digit mark. They need at least another 50 to 60 to put up a fight. Afg 100-5 in 15 overs.

Another wicket gone. Afghanistan further slipping. Afg 94-5 in 14 overs.

Samiullah Shenwari c Ahmed Shehzad b Junaid Khan 16 (10b 1x4 1x6)

Zadran gets aggressive. A six and a boundary takes him to 36. Afg 89-4 in 13 overs.

Afridi strikes and Nabi is gone. Big loss for Afghanistan. Afg 69-4 in 11 overs.

Mohammad Nabi b Shahid Afridi 15 (10b 2x4 0x6)

Zadran and Nabi going steady. A fine partnership building here. Afg 59-3 in 10 overs.

Afridi gets hit for a six from Zadran. Afg 47-3 in 8 overs.

A brief cameo and Stanikzai departs. Afg 28-2 in 6.4 overs.

Asghar Stanikzai b Bilawal Bhatti 15 (20b 0x4 2x6)

Two massive sixes comes as a lifeline for Afghanistan. Afg 29-2 in 7 overs.

There goes another wicket. Their experienced campaigner Mangal departs. Afghanistan in trouble here. Afg 8-2 in 5 overs.

Nawroz Mangal c Sohaib Maqsood b Zulfiqar Babar 1 (10b 0x4 0x6)

Runs hardly coming in for Afghanistan. Tight bowling from Pakistan. Afg 7-1 in 4 overs.

Another good over from Hafeez. Afg 6-1 in 3 overs.

Just one run and a wicket. Good start for Tanvir. Afghanistan need to keep their wickets. Afg 4-1 in 2 overs.

Wicket off the first ball for Tanvir. Afg 3-1 in 1.1 overs.

Mohammad Shahzad c Umar Akmal b Sohail Tanvir 2 (4b 0x4 0x6)

Smooth start for Afghanistan. Three runs coming off the first over. Afg 3-0 in 1 over.

Playing XI:

Pakistan: Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Amin, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Bilawal Bhatti, Sohail Tanvir, Zulfiqar Babar, Junaid Khan

Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad, Mohammad Nabi, Nawroz Mangal, Asghar Stanikzai, Mirwais Ashraf, Hamid Hassan, Samiullah Shenwari, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Gulbadin Naib,

Afghanistan have won the toss and chose to bat. They should be looking for a good score to challenge Pakistan and give them a run for the money. Lot of Afghanistan fans filling up the stadium.

Pakistan will not take Afghanistan lightly when they square off in a historic Twenty20 clash for the Cool & Cool Cup at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

This is the first meeting in the shortest format of the game between the two South Asian neighbours and a sell-out crowd is expected with both teams having a large concentrations of fans in Sharjah.

Afghanistan have played four Twenty20s against Full Members, including South Africa, India and England, but those matches came in the 2010 and 2012 World Twenty20s.

Outside of ICC tournaments, they've played one ODI each against Pakistan and Australia last year.

"I congratulate Afghanistan for qualifying for the World T20. Their hard work in last couple of years has made it possible," said Pakistan T20 captain Mohammed Hafeez at a pre-match press conference on Saturday.

"Afghanistan in the recent past has played more cricket here (Sharjah) than Pakistan. So they know more about these conditions. We cannot take them lightly. They are a good side having qualified for the World Cup. It will be a good match for us before we take on Sri Lanka," he added.

Afghanistan captain Mohammed Nabi said it was a big match for them since Pakistan have T20 specialists.

"T20 is a do or die match. We will try out best against Pakistan. We are already in both World Cups. We want more matches against full members to learn more and gain experience," he said.

"We are proud to sponsor this event and to support cricket in this part of the world. We want to encourage more Associate countries to come and play here against teams like Pakistan," said Zara Shah of Grand Midwest Hotel.

"Since long, Cool & Cool has been associated with cricket. We are looking forward to seeing some good games so everybody can enjoy," said Owais Ashraf, head of marketing Cool & Cool.
 
Squads

Pakistan
: Mohammad Hafeez (captain), Ahmad Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Amin, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Zulfiqar Babar, Bilawal Bhatti, Junaid Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Anwar Ali, Haris Sohail

Afghanistan: Mohammad Nabi (captain), Afsar Zazai, Asghar Stanikzai, Dawlat Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Hamza Hotak,Izatullah Dawlatzai, Karim Sadiq, Mirwais Ashraf, Mohammad Shahzad, Najibullah Zadran, Nawroz Mangal, Samiullah Shenwari, Shafiqullah, Shapoor Zadran

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