Pakistan produced a terrific bowling performance to restrict Afghanistan to 129/6 in Super 4 match of the Asia Cup 2022 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, here on Wednesday.
Ibrahim Zadran (35 off 37) was the top-scorer for Afghanistan while Hazratullah Zazai (21 off 17), Rashid Khan (18 off 15), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (17 off 11) were the other main contributors with the bat.
Put into bat first, Afghanistan were off to a quick start. After a four-run first over by Naseem Shah, young opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz finished the second over with back to back sixes against Mohammad Hasnain.
However, Rauf, who came to bowl the fourth over, rattled the stumps of Gurbaz with a length ball. On the other hand, Hazratullah Zazai was also looking good before getting out to Hasnain on a slow off cutter.
With both openers gone for 43-2 after 4.5 overs, it was a huge test for Afghanistan's middle order. However, Ibrahim Zadran and Karim Janat batted cautiously to take their team to 72/2 after 10 overs.
In order to give some momentum to Afghanistan innings, Janat (15) decided to take Mohammad Nawaz and went for a big shot but the ball got the elevation not the required distance and was caught at long-on.
Najibullah Zadran (10) hit a six against Shadab Khan and cleared his intention. However, he holed out to Fakhar Zaman while going for another one. Thereafter, captain Mohammad Nabi, who is playing his 100th game, got out for a golden duck, courtesy an inside-edge ricochets onto the stumps on the bowling of Naseem Shah.
Ibrahim Zadran, who was Afghanistan's best batter on the day, had the onus to bail his team out from a tricky situation. But, Haris Rauf dismissed him to leave Afghanistan struggling at 104-6 after 16.3 overs.
It was Rashid, who played a useful cameo to give some push to the target. He smashed Rauf for a six and a four to pick up 10 runs in the last over and along with Azmatullah Omarzai (10 not out off 10) took Afghanistan to 129-6 in 20 overs.
For Pakistan, Haris Rauf was the pick of bowlers with figures of 2/26, while Naseem Shah (1/19), Mohammad Nawaz (1/23), Shadab Khan (1/27), Mohammad Hasnain (1/34) picked one wicket each.
Brief scores: Afghanistan - 129 for 6 in 20 overs (Ibrahim Zadran 35, Hazratullah Zazai 21; Haris Rauf 2/26)