Pakistan {PC: Twitter}
Pakistan {PC: Twitter}

Last Update on: August 22nd, 2023 at 09:45 pm

Pakistan and Afghanistan locked horns in the first game of the ODI series at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Hambantota. The match was all about the Babar Azam-led side as they despite performing badly with the bat they made a strong comeback with the ball. 

Pakistan were bundled out for just 208 runs in their first innings. But after that, they kept chipping in with wickets and put Afghanistan under pressure. They reduced the Hashmatullah Shahidi-led side to 4/3. But their slopiness on the field was something that kept many entertained. 

During the 4th over, Naseem Shah bowled a fuller angling delivery to Ikram Alikhil. The batter tried to tap and immediately called for a run. But Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who was a non-striker, wasn’t interested and he sent him back. Fakhar Zaman at covers picked the ball and ran close to the stumps. He aimed an underarm throw towards the striker’s end. 

But he missed it and keeper Mohammad Rizwan gathered the ball but the ball popped out of his gloves and Ikram Alikhil survived.

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Here’s a video of the whole incident:

After his wicket, Pakistan made a mockery of Afghanistan’s batting lineup and removed wickets in clusters. Haris Rauf was the chief architect as he picked his first five-wicket haul in the ODIs and helped his side bundle out the opposition for just 59 runs. 

Pakistan won the game by the margin of 142 runs and took a 1-0 lead in the series. Apart from Usama Mir, every bowler picked a wicket. For Afghanistan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz was the highest run-getter for his team with 18 runs. Earlier in the first innings, Imam-ul-Haq smashed a vital half-century to take his team to 201 runs. 

We want to stay positive – Pakistan skipper Babar Azam after 142 runs win 

Pakistan captain Babar Azam talked about the win his side bagged in the first game. He credited his team for a staggering show and said that despite things going wrong they want to stay positive. Speaking at the post-match presentation, he explained: 

“At the toss, felt the wicket was a bit dry. We lost wickets upfront and then Imam and Iftikhar played a good hand in getting us to a decent total. We just tried to hit the hard length with the ball and build more dot balls in the powerplay. We all know what Shaheen can do with the new ball. 

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“The way Haris Rauf bowled, that spell was game-changing. I always try my level best (as a batter and captain), sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, it happens in the game of cricket. We want to stay positive.” 

The second ODI between Pakistan and Afghanistan will take place on Thursday (24th August).