Afghanistan on Sunday defeated Pakistan by seven wickets to bag an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match T20I series at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the United Arab Emirates.
It was a historic moment for the Afghans as this was the first time ever that they’d downed the Men in Green in any series across any format.
In an attempt to chase a 131-run target, Afghanistan played slowly but maturely to reach the target with just one ball to go.
Death-bowling specialist Zaman Khan was unable to save five runs off the last over as Afghanistan crossed the line courtesy to Najibullah Zadran’s winning four on the second last ball of the match.
Opener Rahamanullah Gurbaz set the tone for Afghanistan’s chase with 44 off 49 balls, courtesy of only one six and two fours.
Ibrahim Zadran then contributed an important 38 runs off 40 balls at the one-down position with three fours to his name.
When asked to finish the match, veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi produced 14 off just 9 balls to take the Afghans to the finish line and make sure they broke the tape before Pakistan.
For Pakistan, only Zaman Khan and Ihsanullah were able to bag one wicket apiece.
Earlier, Pakistan batted first and all thanks to Imad Wasim’s 64 off 57 balls, were able to post a reasonable 131-run target on the board. Captain Shadab was the second-best batter with his 32 off 25 balls.
Pakistan started their innings by losing two wickets for zero after Fazalhaq Farooqi bowled a double-wicket maiden.
Maverick opener Saim Ayub was caught behind brilliantly by keeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz on the second ball of the Pakistani innings.
Incoming batter Abdullah Shafique was once again caught LBW, after losing his wicket in the same fashion in the first T20I.
Farooqi brought the ball swinging back into the right-handed batter, who was unable to predict the movement while trying to play across the line.
Right-handed opener Mohammad Haris tried to give Pakistan the much-needed push with a six and two fours. However, his innings of intent came to a premature end when he edged one to the keeper for an easy catch off pacer Naveenul Haq.
Tayyab Tahir, another youngster in the Pakistan squad, tried to protect his wicket to give the Men in Green a dependable option in the middle-order, but he also couldn’t lengthen his stay after scoring 13 off 23 balls.
Big-hitter Azam Khan was dismissed by Afghan captain Rashid after facing four deliveries for only one run.
Farooqi was the hero for Afghanistan with the ball bagging two wickets off four overs, giving one maiden and 19 runs.
Naveen, Rashid, and Karim Jannat bagged one wicket each for Afghanistan.
The last T20I of the three-match series will be played at Sharjah again, on Monday, March 27.