Pakistan cruise to easy win after dismissing Afghanistan for 59 in first ODI

Ahead of the upcoming Asia Cup and World Cup, Pakistan’s pacers showcased a dominant performance in their first ODI against Afghanistan. The Pakistani fast bowlers combined to claim eight wickets, leading to Afghanistan being bowled out for a mere 59 runs in the opening ODI of the three-match series.

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Haris Rauf delivered his career-best performance, taking figures of 5/18, while Shaheen Shah Afridi (2/9) and Naseem Shah (1/12) also bowled excellently in Pakistan’s first ODI outside their home country this year.

Although Pakistan struggled during their innings, it was a late partnership for the ninth wicket that pushed their score past 200. They managed to achieve this against a strong Afghanistan bowling attack.

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Imam-ul-Haq stood out as the top batter for Pakistan, crafting a patient 61 from 94 balls. Shadab Khan (39) and Iftikhar Ahmed (30) also played crucial roles as they were eventually bowled out for 201 runs in 47.1 overs.

The fast bowlers swiftly put Pakistan on the path to victory within the first 10 overs. Afridi’s back-to-back dismissals of Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmat Shah in the third over, followed by Naseem’s removal of skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi in the next over, severely dented Afghanistan’s prospects.

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With three batsmen falling for ducks, Afghanistan found themselves at 8/3 on the scoreboard. Haris Rauf joined in on the demolition, picking up a wicket in his first over. He dismissed the resilient Rahmanullah Gurbaz in the 14th over, triggering another batting collapse.

From 35/5, Afghanistan struggled and ultimately crumbled for a meager total of 59 runs. This marked their second-lowest score in ODIs. Rauf’s exceptional performance earned him career-best figures of 5/18. Impressively, this was the fourth instance where Pakistan bowled out the opposition in under 20 overs in an ODI.

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Additionally, this was the lowest total ever recorded by an opposing team against Pakistan in men’s ODIs. The win gave Pakistan with a strong start to their busy season. More significantly, their pace attack appears to be shaping up effectively just before the imminent World Cup.

Since 2021, Pakistan’s fast bowlers have demonstrated remarkable prowess in ODIs. Rauf leads the pack with 43 wickets in 21 matches at an average of 24. Despite the others having played fewer ODIs compared to Rauf, their performances have been equally good.

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