Pakistan fast bowler Haris Rauf grabbed 5-18 as Afghanistan succumbed to a 142-run loss in their one-day international on Tuesday.
After bowling out Pakistan for 201 on a tricky, slow pitch, Afghanistan was all out at 59-9 in less than 20 overs. Afghanistan suffered its second lowest ODI total. The score was also the lowest by any team against Pakistan in ODI history.
Shaheen Shah Afridi rattled Afghanistan’s top order with the wickets of Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmat Shah off successive deliveries in his second over, then Shadab Khan took a brilliant catch of captain Hashmatullah Shahidi that left Afghanistan limping at 3-4.
Rauf’s fiery pace and swing then routed the middle order.
Only Rahmanullah Gurbaz (18) and Azmatullah Omarzai (16), who retired hurt, reached double figures for the Afghans before Rauf claimed the last wicket and fell to his knees following the best figures of his ODI career.
“The spell of Haris was game-changing,” Pakistan captain Babar Azam said. “We just wanted to bowl as many dot balls as possible and hit hard lengths in the powerplay. We lost wickets up front and then Imam and Iftikhar got us to a decent total.” Pakistan’s top order struggled against the experienced spin trio of Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who shared seven wickets.
Babar fell for a rare duck when he played the wrong line to Mujeeb’s full-pitched delivery and was out plumb leg before, and Pakistan was reeling at 62-4.
Imam-ul-Haq survived three close catching chances to score 61 off 94 balls before he fell off Nabi’s last delivery as he couldn’t clear Rashid at mid-off. Imam and Iftikhar Ahmed shared a 50-run stand.
Shadab and Iftikhar held the innings together late in the innings until Iftikhar offered a tame catch at mid-wicket on 30 and Shadab couldn’t beat the throw of Mujeeb and was run out for 39 at the non-striker’s end in the 47th over.
Naseem Shah’s 35 runs with Shadab for the ninth wicket just tipped Pakistan past the 200-run mark.
Afghanistan was proud of its bowling effort to set up a chaseable target, but Shaheen then Rauf ruined all of their hopes and Pakistan earned a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
“Our shot selection in the beginning was not good enough,” Shahidi said. “I am happy with our bowling performance.” The second ODI will be at the same venue on Thursday. The teams move to Colombo for the final match on Saturday. The series is preparation for next week’s Asia Cup in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.