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Akmal's unbeaten ton leaves debutantes Afghanistan undone

Umar Akmal raises his bat after scoring fifty Associated Press

Umar Akmal's unbeaten 102 runs from just 89 balls helped Pakistan beat debutantes Afghanistan by a healthy 72-run margin at Fatullah on Thursday.

After being put in to bat, Pakistan's openers, Sharjeel Khan and Ahmed Shehzad got their side off to a solid start and put on 55 runs. Sharjeel's dismissal in the 13th over led to a minor collapse as Pakistan lost three more wickets with just 34 runs added to the tally.

Akmal commandeered the innings at 117 for 6 and timed his onslaught nicely to usher Pakistan to a relatively safe total of 248. He targeted Afghanistan's two quicks Dawlat and Shapoor Zadran, smashing two sixes and three fours off the last two overs of the innings.

His century against Afghanistan was his second in ODIs. His last century was also an unbeaten 102, against Sri Lanka in 2009.

Afghanistan's batsmen showed signs of a fight but could not sustain it as they crumbled to 176 in the 48th over.

"I know there was huge pressure, great credit to management and coach for believing in me," Akmal said. "I just did my best to stay out there and push things along. Moin Khan, the coach, supported me a lot, the seniors too."

"They said you had enough ability to stay in the wicket [and bat long] and I'm trying that out in this series. I dedicate this century to my wife"