Pakistan VS Afghanistan
3rd Match, Fatullah
Pakistan 248/8, 5o Overs ( U Akmal 102*)
Mirwais Ashraf 2 for 34
Umar Akmal second ton in ODIs has rescued Pakistan from getting out cheaply against Afghanistan in the 3rd match of Asia Cup 2014 at Fatullah. Afghan bowlers, in their first apperance in Asia Cup, bowled tightly in the early overs and kept things under control in most part of the innings.
After having won the toss, Mohammad Nabi selected to field first considering the significance of dew factor advantage in chasing. Pakistani openers started cautiously before Sharjeel Khan started a march of irresponsible shot making by the Pakistani top order – Sharjeel, Hafeez, and Ahmed Shehzad. Afghan bowlers kept things simple and tidy resulting in a Pakistan top order choke. All of them got out in mistimed slogs and Pakistan found them in a familiar slide. The ever so reliable, captain Misbah, was run out without facing a single delivery when Pakistan were at 89. Though, the blame can be put of Sohaib Maqsood who, slipping in the mid pitch, attempted a return to his own crease and left Misbah no chance to survive. Later he himself got out when Pakistan were struggling at 108-4 playing rash shot off Samiullah Shenwari adding just 13 to the scoreboard. An off form Afridi couldn’t add any stability and fell cheaply scoring just 6.
At 117 for 6, Pakistan was in danger of getting out below 150. But the inform Umar Akmal, whose depart in the previous match against Sri Lanka resulted in Pakistan’s derail, built a crucial 60 run partnership with Anwar Ali. The two kept rotating strikes and took odd boundaries. But the Afghans were still dominating over them and got rid of Anwar in the 43 over when Nawroz Mangal took a magnificent catch off medium-pacer Mirwais Ashraf. But Umar Akmal was solid on the other end and cut lose in the last five overs of the innings. After Umar Gul’s small but important contribution of 15, he kept Saeed Ajmal on the other end and blasted the Afghan bowlers all over the park, especially through long on. His century came at the 50th over with a massive six over his favorite long on region.
Mirwais Ashraf was the pick of the Afghan bowlers, he took two important wickets with good economy. The other bowlers weren’t too bad as they got great support from the spirited fielding support. Till the 45th overs, Afghanistan were looking at a possible chase score of 225. But devastating Akmal brought Pakistan right back into the game.
Pakistan have a deadly bowling attack. But with heavy dew in affect, it evens it up somewhat for the Afghanistan batsmen.