Pakistan asserted its dominance in the first match of the three-match bilateral series against Afghanistan, held in Hambantota on August 22, 2023. Despite setting a modest target of 202 runs in the 1st ODI, Pakistan’s pacers showcased their might by dismantling Afghanistan’s batting lineup, restricting them to a mere 59 runs in the second innings.

Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, and Haris Rauf spearheaded Pakistan’s bowling attack, capitalizing on the pace and swing offered by the Sri Lankan pitches. Notably, Haris Rauf was the standout performer, achieving his career-best ODI figures of 5/18 in just 6.2 overs. Shaheen Afridi initiated the collapse by grabbing the first two wickets, while Naseem Shah contributed impressively with figures of 5-0-12-1.

Pakistan vs Afghanistan Fight ODI, image credit: Mykhel

In the post-match presentation, Rauf expressed his satisfaction with his performance, emphasizing his familiarity with the playing conditions.

“I feel great, having made good use of the conditions. In my opinion, the match’s low-scoring nature doesn’t matter. Our primary goal was to make an impact, and I’m delighted that we achieved that goal. We stuck to our plan, delivering deliveries in the right areas. My teammates played their part, making my job easier. When I’m on the bowling crease, I aim to keep it simple and rely on my strengths,” Rauf remarked while accepting the player of the match award.

Pakistan’s bowlers came to the rescue yet again, redeeming a subpar batting performance. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan struggled in the first innings, both falling victim to Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s bowling. Pakistan’s captain, speaking after the match, admitted their aim was to reach 250 runs but acknowledged the batting department’s shortcomings and pledged to learn from them.

“When we won the toss, our intention was to set a target of 250 runs. However, our batting performance was below par. Imam and Iftikhar performed well, but the rest faltered. Our strategy revolved around maintaining simplicity and delivering deliveries accurately to induce dot balls. Shaheen and Naseem began brilliantly, and Haris Rauf played his part. While there is pressure, I believe in learning from my mistakes. The team’s overall performance has positive aspects, and I am content with their efforts,” Babar said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »