Sharjah, 27 March 2023: An all-round performance from captain Shadab Khan led Pakistan to a 66-run win over Afghanistan in the third T20I of the three-match series at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday evening.
This was Pakistan’s first win in the T20I series as Afghanistan had already taken an unassailable lead in the series by winning the first and second T20Is by six and seven wickets, respectively.
After being asked to bat, Pakistan put up a commanding 182 for seven in their allotted 20 overs courtesy 49 off 40 balls from young opening batter Saim Ayub and cameos from Shadab (28, 17b, 5x4s) and Iftikhar Ahmed (31, 25b, 2x6s).
The 20-year old Saim playing his first international series struck four fours and two sixes at the strike-rate of 122.5. Middle-order batter Iftikhar – replacing Azam Khan in today’s game and also playing for the first time in the series added valuable 38 runs with Shadab for the sixth wicket which helped the side to post a match winning total.
The right-handed Abdullah Shafique was also amongst the runs today as the 23-year old scored a 13-ball 23, smashing two sixes and one four.
For Afghanistan, Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman bagged two wickets for 28 runs from his four overs.
Chasing 183 to win, Afghanistan batters for the first time in the series were never allowed to settle in by the Pakistan’s bowlers as the hosts lost wickets at regular intervals and were bowled out for 116 in the 19th over.
Azmatullah Omarzai, who came in as a concussion substitute for Najibullah Zadran (who was struck by Ihsanullah rising ball in the 11th over of the innings) top-scored for his side with a 20-ball 21, hitting two fours and a six.
For Pakistan, young fast bowler Ihsanullah and captain Shadab bagged three wickets apiece. The leg-spinner Shadab playing his 87th T20I, also became the first Pakistan bowler to take 100 wickets in this format. He achieved the feat by dismissing Usman Ghani in the 12th over of the innings.
Pakistan’s team next assignment is against New Zealand, where they will feature in a white-ball series at home starting from 14 April.
Scores in brief:
Pakistan beat Afghanistan by 66 runs
Pakistan 182-7,20 overs (Saim Ayub 49, Iftikhar Ahmed 31, Shadab Khan 28, Abdullah Shafique 23; Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman 2-28)
Afghanistan 116 all out, 18.4 overs (Azmatullah Omarzai 21, Rahmanullah Gurbaz 18; Shadab Khan 3-13, Ihsanullah 3-29)
Player of the match – Shadab Khan (Pakistan)