In the final over of the chase, Shadab Khan got run out at the non-striker’s end with nonchalance, but Naseem Shah‘s composed approach secured a splendid victory for Pakistan against Afghanistan.
The second One Day International (ODI) match between Afghanistan and Pakistan in Hambantota ended dramatically, as Naseem Shah refreshed memories of last year’s Asia Cup with a splendid finish, leading his team to victory by just one wicket. On the last ball of the match, Naseem hit a boundary, when Pakistan needed three runs for victory. As Pakistan clinched the series win, celebrations erupted in jubilation. Adding to the celebration was the fact that Pakistan’s headline player, Shadab Khan, got run out at the non-striker’s end, a dismissal that was deemed invalid by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) despite being valid last year.
The match witnessed a crucial turning point in the final over when Naseem Shah readied himself to face Fazalhaq Farooqi. Shadab Khan, who was batting impressively at 48 runs, showed eagerness to rotate the strike and started advancing before the delivery was bowled. Capitalizing on the opportunity, the Afghan fast bowler demonstrated notable alertness, quickly dislodged the bails, and initiated Pakistan’s frustration. The umpires promptly declared Shadab out, leading to disappointment in the all-rounder and the Pakistan team.
However, Naseem remained unfazed. With 11 runs required off the last six balls, Pakistan’s batsmen initiated their quest with a boundary. On the third ball, Naseem handed the strike to number 11 batsman Harris Rauf, who swiftly scored three runs, turning the tide in Pakistan’s favor. Subsequently, on the fifth ball of the last over, Naseem Shah struck a boundary, securing a magnificent victory for Pakistan.
On the final ball, Naseem faced an anxious moment as the delivery edged towards wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz for a potential four runs.
In the second ODI, the contest differed drastically from the opening match of the series, as Afghanistan had collapsed to 59 runs while chasing a target of 202 runs. Gurbaz was the star of Afghanistan’s batting innings in the second match in Hambantota, setting the highest score by a wicketkeeper-batsman against Pakistan in a One Day International (151). This was Gurbaz’s fifth century in just 23 ODIs, making him the third-fastest batsman to achieve this milestone in cricket history, behind only Imam-ul-Haq and Quinton de Kock (both in 19 matches).
The series will conclude with the final ODI in Colombo, after which both teams will participate in the Asia Cup. While Pakistan has started their campaign against Nepal in Group A before facing arch-rivals India, Afghanistan finds themselves in Group B alongside Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.