Afghanistan’s Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s run-a-ball score of 151 went in vain as Pakistan, powered by half-centuries from opener Imam-ul Haq and skipper Babar Azam, along with a crucial 48 from Shadab Khan, clinched a thrilling one-wicket win in the second ODI.
In a high-scoring match that saw a total of 602 runs scored, Pakistan secured an unassailable 2-0 lead, edging out their opponents in a dramatic match. The second innings of the match saw some intense moments, with Pakistan eventually managing to maintain their composure and win by the slimmest of margins — with just one ball and one wicket to spare. Once again, Naseem Shah emerged as the key player for Pakistan, thwarting Afghanistan’s chances of securing their first ODI victory over Pakistan.
In the first innings, Afghanistan posted a formidable total of 300/5, thanks to Gurbaz’s scintillating knock of 151. This was also Afghanistan’s highest against their rivals Pakistan. Gurbaz’s knock which featured 14 boundaries and three sixes, showcased his dominance against the Pakistani bowling attack. His partnership with Ibrahim Zadran (80) yielded a massive 227 runs for the opening wicket. Interestingly, this was also Afghanistan’s second-highest partnership for any wicket.
Gurbaz’s century was a landmark achievement as it was the highest score by an Afghanistan batter against Pakistan. It was also the nation’s first-ever century against their opponents. Prior to this, the highest individual effort was Hashmatullah Shahidi’s unbeaten knock of 97. Gurbaz’s fifth ODI century came in just 23 innings, making him the third-fastest player to reach five ODI hundreds. He surpassed Babar Azam (25 innings) and trailed behind the joint-first position holders, Quinton de Kock (19) and Imam-Ul-Haq (19).
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Furthermore, Gurbaz’s century marked the first instance of a wicketkeeper scoring 150 or more in a men’s ODI against Pakistan. The previous best was MS Dhoni’s 148 at Vishakhapatnam.
After a disappointing performance in the first ODI, where they were bowled out for just 59 runs, the Afghans put up a spirited batting display in the second match here. While Gurbaz and Zadran gave them a strong start, a slight collapse towards the end was salvaged by Mohammed Nabi’s run-a-ball 29, propelling their total to 300.
In response, Pakistan enjoyed a solid partnership between Imam-ul-Haq (91) and Babar Azam (53), contributing to a 118-run stand for the second wicket. However, after Babar Azam’s dismissal, Pakistan faced a slump, losing five wickets for 41 runs. Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed managed to stabilize the innings, but frequent wickets kept Afghanistan in the hunt.
With 27 needed off 12 balls, Shadab delivered a six and a four in the penultimate over. However, he was run out on the first ball of the final over, leaving Pakistan with only one wicket remaining. Repeating his performance against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup last year, Naseem Shah stepped up to secure a thrilling win for Pakistan with just one ball to spare.
Having already won the series following their 2-0 lead, Pakistan head into the final ODI against the Afghans in Colombo on August 26.