On Thursday (August 24), after to a valiant effort from their lower order, Pakistan edged out Afghanistan in a dramatic one-wicket victory in the second ODI in Hambantota. Babar Azam’s team won the series 3-0 thanks to this victory.
11 required off the last over with two wickets in hand in a game of spectacular ups and downs. With Naseem Shah for company at the other end, Shadab Khan was comfortably placed at the crease (although off strike). As soon as Shadab backed up too far at the non-striker’s end, the drama began. With the score tied, Pakistan’s all-rounder was run out by pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi in what seemed like a calculated dismissal. Nonetheless, Naseem kept calm and hit the fence twice, with assistance from Haris Rauf, to lead Pakistan to victory with one ball to spare, exactly like he did in last year’s Asia Cup T20 event.
After Babar and Imam-ul-Haq’s century-long standoff, no one expected the pursuit to get this close. After Fakhar Zaman was out in the first PowerPlay, the pair put Pakistan on cruise control. Afghanistan was put under intense strain, and at 170/1, Pakistan almost blew the game. Babar was outfielded by a slower ball from Farooqi, and the score quickly ballooned to 211/6. With little dew, the older ball proved more difficult to score, as Afghanistan’s spin trio applied the pressure. After a shaky innings from Ifthikar Ahmed was cut short, Afghanistan took the lead, and Pakistan’s fate was sealed by the mini-collapse. Despite being under intense pressure, Shadab held his cool and played a crucial part in the game till he was eventually out.