SHARJAH: Fazalhaq Farooqi and Najibullah Zadran’s impressive show helped Afghanistan register a thrilling seven-wicket victory over Pakistan in the second T20I on Sunday to seal their first series triumph over their Asian rivals.
Opting to bat first, Pakistan posted a total of 130/6 on the board. In response, Afghanistan chased down the target with a solitary delivery remaining.
Farooqi was the standout performer with the ball, finishing with impressive figures of 2/19 in his four overs and was also adjudged Player of the Match.
Chasing 131, Afghanistan got off to a steady start thanks to the 56-run partnership between Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran for the second wicket. Gurbaz was particularly impressive with the bat, scoring 47 runs to lay the foundation for a successful run chase. Ibrahim Zadran also played a crucial role in the middle order, scoring 38 runs to keep the momentum going for Afghanistan.
With the finish line in sight, Afghanistan lost a couple of quick wickets which gave Pakistan a glimmer of hope. However, Mohammad Nabi (14*) and Najibullah Zadran (23*) showed their experience and composure under pressure to guide Afghanistan to a comfortable seven-wicket win.
The victory was an incredible achievement for Afghanistan, as they registered their first-ever series win against Pakistan in any format of the game. Earlier, Pakistan suffered a batting order collapse as they lost five wickets inside 11 overs with just 63 runs on the board. Afghanistan’s bowlers continued to keep a tight grip on the game in the 2nd T20I as well. Saim Ayub and Abdullah Shafique were sent back to the hut without contributing any run in the opening over of the match, while Mohammad Haris, Tayyab Tahir and Azam Khan were next to head back to the pavilion at the end of the 11th over.
Pakistan’s captain Shadab Khan, and all-rounder Imad Wasim, then steadied the ship and added a valuable 67-run partnership for the sixth wicket.
Imad played exceptionally well and remained unbeaten on 64 runs off 57 balls, which included three fours and two sixes. Shadab, on the other hand, got out on the last ball of the innings for the score of 32 off 25 balls. Pakistan ended their innings with a total of 130 runs for the loss of six wickets in their allotted 20 overs.
After sealing the three-match series with a win on the second T20, Afghanistan will be aiming to sweep Pakistan when the two sides will meet on Monday in the third and final T20 at the Sharjah Cricket Ground.