SHARJAH: An all-round performance by Pakistan helped them avoid the ignominy of a T20I series whitewash, defeating Afghanistan by 66 runs in Sharjah on Monday. After losing the first two T20Is, Pakistan displayed a competitive show in the third and final game of the series.
Batting first, Pakistan scored 182/7 with youngster Saim Ayub top-scoring with 49 off 40 balls. He struck four boundaries and two sixes during his inning. Iftikhar Ahmed scored crucial 31 runs including two maximums. Skipper Shadab Khan took responsibility with the bat too and contributed 28 off 17 balls.
Pakistan scored 74 runs off the final seven overs as they reached 182, the highest total of the series.
Mujeeb-ur Rehman took two wickets while Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid and Karim Janat bagged a wicket each.
Pakistan bowlers led by Shadab and Ihsanullah then came up with a tidy spell to pick up three wickets each as Afghanistan crumbled to 116 all out.
Ihsanullah provided a breakthrough in the fifth over after he clean bowled Rahmanullah Gurbaz. The speedster was quick enough to shatter the confidence of Afghanistan’s batters. Najibullah Zadran was hit on his jaws by Ihsanullah after which he had to walk off the field. His concussion replacement Azmatullah Omarzai came to bat at No.10 and scored the highest 21 runs.
Shadab achieved a milestone by becoming the first-ever Pakistani to take 100 T20I wickets.
Brief scores: Pakistan 182/7 (Ayub 49) beat Afghanistan 116 all out (Shadab 3-13, Ihsanullah 3-29).