Pakistan achieved a resounding triumph over Afghanistan on Saturday in the final match of the series, sealing a comprehensive whitewash and securing the top spot in the one-day international (ODI) rankings.
In pursuit of a target of 269 runs, Afghanistan faced defeat as they were bowled out for 209 runs in 48.4 overs. Leg-spinner Shadab Khan stood out among Pakistan’s bowlers with impressive figures of 3-42 in his 10-over spell. Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, and Shaheen Afridi contributed by taking two wickets each.
Opting to bat first after winning the toss, Pakistan set a target of 269 runs for Afghanistan. They concluded their innings at 268-8 in 50 overs, with Mohammad Rizwan (67) and Babar Azam (60) leading the scoring for the Men in Green.
Having already secured a 2-0 series lead, Pakistan aims for a clean sweep in the series hosted by Afghanistan in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, stated that the initial 10 overs would be challenging. He expressed determination to build immense pressure on Afghanistan by setting a substantial target. Pakistan made four changes to the playing eleven, bringing in Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, and Mohammad Wasim Jr in place of Usama Mir, Iftikhar Ahmed, Naseem Shah, and Haris Rauf.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan faced a setback as all-rounder Azmatullah Umarzai was ruled out due to a side strain. Gulbadin Naib replaced him, as announced by the Afghanistan Cricket Board.
The two teams engaged in an intense battle in the previous match, with Pakistan exhibiting remarkable resilience. Naseem Shah, who had previously led Pakistan to victory against the same opponent in the Asia Cup 2022, once again played a crucial role in securing a thrilling victory in the last over, enabling Pakistan to achieve the required 11 runs off 6 balls.