Naseem Shah maintained his composure to give Pakistan an incredible victory despite Shadab Khan being run out at the non-stirker’s end in the penultimate over of the chase.
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Naseem Shah’s Heroics Propel Pakistan to Thrilling Victory in Second ODI
The second ODI between Afghanistan and Pakistan, held in Hambantota, unfolded in a nail-biting fashion as Naseem Shah invoked memories of last year’s Asia Cup, orchestrating a sensational finish that led Pakistan to a remarkable one-wicket triumph. Naseem’s timely four on the penultimate delivery of the match, requiring just three runs for victory, ignited exuberant celebrations, securing a series win for Pakistan. The jubilant scenes were magnified by the unusual dismissal of Pakistan all-rounder Shadab Khan, who was run out at the non-striker’s end – a dismissal now considered legal, albeit unconventional, after being sanctioned by the Marylebone Cricket Club last year.
The pivotal turning point emerged during the closing over of the game when Naseem Shah prepared to face Fazalhaq Farooqi. Shadab Khan, displaying fine form with a score of 48, aimed to rotate the strike and commenced advancing even before the ball’s release. In a moment of striking awareness, the Afghan pacer nimbly dislodged the bails, igniting a cascade of elation. The umpires promptly declared Shadab out, evoking a mix of disappointment for the all-rounder and the Pakistani side.
Unfazed by the setback, Naseem Shah maintained his composure. With 11 runs required off the last six deliveries, he opened the over with a decisive boundary. On the third ball, he handed the strike to no.11 Haris Rauf, who deftly secured three runs, reciprocating the favor. Naseem Shah then took matters into his own hands, smashing a boundary on the fifth delivery of the final over, clinching a sensational victory for Pakistan.
As the thrilling climax unfolded, Naseem Shah found the outer edge on the penultimate ball, the ball sailing past wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz for a four, sealing Pakistan’s triumph.
Gurbaz’s Record-Breaking Century and Asia Cup Anticipation Define Afghanistan-Pakistan ODI Series
The second ODI starkly contrasted the series opener, where Afghanistan was skittled for a mere 59 in pursuit of a 202-run target. Gurbaz’s stellar performance shone in Afghanistan’s batting innings in the second match at Hambantota, achieving the highest score by a wicketkeeper-batter against Pakistan in an ODI (151). This marked Gurbaz’s fifth century in just 23 ODI innings, catapulting him ahead of Babar Azam. He now stands as the third-fastest batter in cricket history to achieve this milestone, trailing only Imam-ul-Haq and Quinton de Kock – both accomplishing the feat in 19 innings.
Looking ahead, the series concludes with the final ODI in Colombo on Friday, paving the way for both teams’ participation in the upcoming Asia Cup. Pakistan commences their campaign against Nepal, followed by a high-stakes encounter against arch-rivals India in Group A. Meanwhile, Afghanistan finds themselves in a group with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as they gear up for the tournament.