ICC World Cup 2019 Sports

Pakistan defeat Afghanistan in a thriller to keep semi-final hopes intact

Pakistan defeated Afghanistan by 3 wickets in a thriller World Cup 2019 league match at the Headingley in Leeds on Saturday to keep their chances of qualifying the  semi-finals alive.

Pakistan moved to the fourth spot of the World Cup 2019 points table with 9 points from 8 matches. Hosts England, who face India in a must-win match on Sunday, have been pushed out of the top four spots.

While chasing the target of 228 on a tricky pitch, Pakistan lost Fakhar Zaman (0) in the very first over to Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Fakhar reviewed the on-field call but replays showed there was no bat involved and Pakistan lost their review.

After Fakhar’s departure, Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq forged a solid 72-run partnership. But soon after, Mohammad Nabi came to the rescue of Afghanistan as he dismissed Imam (36) and Babar (45) in quick succession.

Mohammad Hafeez, who came to bat at No.4 for Pakistan, stitched a 40-run partnership with in-form Haris Sohail.

Hafeez (19) ended up giving a simple catch to Hashmatullah Shahidi at point as Mujeeb struck again to bring his team back in the game. Pakistan were left reeling at 121/4 after the dismissal of their most experienced batsman.

Sarfaraz Ahmed stepped out in the middle with Pakistan requiring 107 runs from 125 balls. Ahmed and Sohail added up 21 runs for the fifth wicket from 35 balls, before Afghanistan’s premier spinner Rashid Khan trapped Haris (27) in front of the wickets.

Just when things were looking to improve for Pakistan, Sarfaraz ran himself out for 18 leaving his team in deep trouble at 155/6 in 39 overs.

Imad Wasim (49*) shared a brilliant 51-run partnership with Shadab Khan to take the game away from Afghanistan. Gulbadan Naib’s gamble to bowl the 46th over proved to be the turning point in the match as Imad clobbered 18 runs from the over.

Earlier in the day, Afghanistan skipper Gulbadan Naib won the toss and decided to bat. Afghanistan stumbled early on as Shaheen Afridi removed Gulbadin Naib and Hashmatullah Shahidi in the same over.

Opener Rahmat Shah (35) looked good before he was caught by Babar Azam off Imad Wasim.

After the departure of Rahmat, Asghar Afghan and Ikram Alikhil stitched a 64-run stand. Afghan blazed 42 off 35 balls, before being castled by Shadab Khan.

Zadran and Mohammed Nabi then stitched together a crucial 42-run partnership for the sixth wicket before Riaz got Nabi and Zadran dragged an Afridi delivery on to his stumps. \

Afridi became the first teenager to pick up a 4-wicket haul in World Cup 2019 as he finished the pick of the Pakistan bowlers with 4-47.

Source : Various