Afghanistan v Pakistan, only T20, Sharjah December 8, 2013

Pakistan prevail in last-over finish

ESPNcricinfo staff

Pakistan 138 for 4 (Hafeez 42*, Shehzad 35) beat Afghanistan 137 for 8 (Najibullah 38, Junaid 3-24) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A score of 137 wouldn't have appeared a match-winning one at the halfway stage of the match, but Afghanistan's bowlers made Pakistan fight till the final ball. Pakistan preserved wickets through their chase and though they lost only four, they were made to sweat against a side brimming with confidence having recently sealed their berth in the upcoming World T20. Mohammad Hafeez kept Pakistan afloat with an unbeaten 42 to set up a six-wicket win in the first ever T20 between the two countries.

At the start of the penultimate over, bowled by Hamid Hassan, Pakistan were still comfortably placed needing 16 with a set Hafeez on 32. Sohaib Maqsood's run out off the fourth ball gave Afghanistan hope but Hafeez calmed the nerves in the Pakistan camp with a streaky, under-edged boundary past the keeper off the last ball to bring the equation down to six from six.

Shahid Afridi pushed the first ball by the seamer Dawlat Zadran to midwicket for a single but Hafeez left the next, expecting it to be called a wide. Afghanistan had a chance to run out Hafeez off the third when he took a risky single to cover and nearly gave up. Zadran then employed the bouncer against Afridi but it backfired with the umpire penalising him for height. Afridi slogged and missed the next ball and stole a bye. Hafeez pinched a single to point, levelling the scores before the last ball. Zadran banged in another bouncer but it cost Afghanistan dear as it was signaled a no ball.

The finish was an anti-climax from the way Pakistan started. The openers Ahmed Shehzad and Sharjeel Khan had added 49 in 7.4 overs before Shehzad was caught at deep midwicket off Samiullah Shenwari. Shehzad dominated the stand with six fours. Sharjeel, on debut, made a steady 18 before he was caught at point off the off spin of Mohammad Nabi.

Afghanistan tightened things up conceding only 15 off the next three overs and no boundaries. Hafeez broke the drought when he launched Shenwari over long-on in the 14th over, leaving Pakistan 49 to get off the last six. Two more sixes, by Umar Akmal, brought the equation down to 27 off 23, comfortably in Pakistan's favour. However, immediately after launching Dawlat over long-on, Akmal dragged the next ball onto his stumps to give Afghanistan relief. However, Hafeez's presence meant that Pakistan still held the edge, despite Afghanistan's comeback.

The pressure began to mount with 21 required off 14, but a four to deep midwicket by Hafeez released the pressure and the captain took it upon himself to stay till the end and avoid a repeat of their shocking collapse against South Africa in an ODI at the same venue recently.

Earlier, a combined performance by Pakistan's bowlers restricted Afghanistan to a middling total. Afghanistan struggled to get going at the start, the score reading a sorry 8 for 2 after five overs. Asghar Stanikzai broke the shackles with two sixes in one over off Zulfiqar Babar but he fell soon after, bowled by Bilawal Bhatti.

The middle order, led by Najibullah Zadran, made starts but regular strikes kept them in check. Afghanistan had recovered well to score 92 in an eight-over period, ending in the 15th over. However, Pakistan clawed back by dismissing Najibullah for 38 and Afghanistan managed only 37 off the last five overs. In the final analysis, a few more could have made the difference.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ata on December 11, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    @Abdullah Aryan : LOL : I am happy for your team to give you some happiness, and wish they become able to beat Pakistan next time, instead of loosing on last ball, But what is the use of saying 90 years, 50 years experience, it has nothing to do with players playing in the team.. The players in all the teams are playing cricket since their child hood, so they have equal experience in playing cricket. Australia, England , SA they are playing cricket over more than 150 years, so it make no sense if they win against us, and we start saying that their country have more experience than ours..Don't be loser with such thinking.

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2013, 22:59 GMT

    @solid_snake - cricket was being played in that region (current Pak) during the British Raj. So it's been well over 60 years for cricket there. In fact, the first international match was held in 1935 between Sindh and Australia.

    Of course that doesn't really matter. A win for your team is a or why you got it is not that important. Afg fans are just happy that their got a chance to play a test team (and thankful to PCB), and played competitively. A win would have bee just a bonus.

  • Yasir on December 10, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    @Abdul Aryan:Are you feeling okay? It's been 66 years that Pakistan was created..From where did this 90 years Cricketing Experience come from?

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    Posted by Zaheer Aslam on (December 10, 2013, 6:01 GMT) Wldone Hafeez You are the real hero against weak team

    In response to Above comment, This is to kindly let you know, if we have 90 years cricket experience like Pakistan we will not let any team to get more than 50 runs, but our hero make it and fight up to last ball of the game, you saw the weak team that fight up to end, we are really happy that our hero's did a great job over 90 years experience cricket country, but we greatly thanks PCB to play with our Cricket team.

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    @sals gron: yes because of that injustice, in the history of game, 1st time 1 host will play in qualifying round to get in to main event.

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2013, 6:01 GMT

    Wldone Hafeez You are the real hero against weak team

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2013, 5:30 GMT

    Afghan Bowling is at least better than India, well done afghans

    please publish this time this is not offensive of abusive


  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2013, 2:43 GMT

    It was nice to see Pak agreeing to play Afg. Other teams should do the same. Ire and Afg deserve more games against the top teams.

    Good game Overall. Very impressed with Afg's improvements, specially in the fielding department. I also noticed improvements in their batting. 137 may not big total in a T20 match, but you have to admit Pak is one of the best bowling sides in the game. And it specially commendable that they achieved that after a very poor start, which looked like a case of nerves considering this was a big game for them. The last time they played a game (in any format) against a Test teams was ages ago.

    On the result itself, taking nothing away from Pak, the game could have gone either way had luck not turned their way on a couple plays.

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2013, 1:21 GMT

    Pakistan won the game but Afghanistan won all cricket world attention. Afghanistan surprised those teams that they would be facing Afghanistan in 20twenty world cup.They might start thinking we are in the wrong group. i believe that Afghanistan will be more danger team than now because the way they are improving they have some time to world cup to learn more.

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2013, 0:21 GMT

    hey Afg & Pak fan don't u think that pak played poor's shame for pakistan. there r not able to make a good effort against a poor team.I'm concern that really this team should play in super 10 without any qualify round.ohh it's really injustice with other.shame.....shame....ICC

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