Sharjah [UAE], March 25 (ANI): Following the six-wicket win over Pakistan in the first T20I, Afghanistan skipper Rashid Khan expressed happiness while cautioning that the top-order batting needs to improve.
Mohammad Nabi and the Afghanistan bowlers’ brilliant display helped the team beat Pakistan by 6 wickets in the first T20I of the three-match series in Sharjah on Friday.
It has been over 11 years since the two teams first played each other and Rashid Khan’s side has finally managed to win their first international match against Pakistan.
“It is always a huge pleasure. So happy that we crossed the line. Happy about the win. Hoping to continue the momentum. Happy with the performances. Proud to be leading this side. You don’t know the wicket at Sharjah. We were trying to adjust to the wicket. We were trying to figure out what a good score was. We need to improve the top-order. We need to be much better. We have the ability. We need to play the right shot at the right moment. Need to keep improving day by day,” said Rashid in a post-match presentation.
It was a clinical performance by Afghanistan from start to finish as the hosts put on a great display despite losing the toss and being asked to bowl first.
Pakistan’s innings never picked up any momentum as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals thanks to some disciplined bowling.
Afghanistan bowlers managed to restrict the Pakistan batting line-up to just 92/9 in their 20 overs.
Imad Wasim (18), debutant Saim Ayub (17) and Tayyab Tahir (16) were notable contributors for Pakistan with the bat.
For Afghanistan, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi picked up two wickets each and gave away only 34 runs in the 11 overs between them. Spin was dominant throughout the first innings as Rashid Khan joined the party and kept the scoring under control.
Although the target did not seem too challenging, the Pakistan bowlers did not go down without a fight.
Afghanistan’s chase seemed to have been derailed as they looked in trouble at 45/4.
But Nabi (38 off 38 balls) continued his excellence and showed his class, building an unbeaten partnership with Najibullah Zadran (17 off 23 balls) to guide Afghanistan home comfortably with more than two overs to spare.
Nabi won the ‘Player of the Match’ for his knock of 38 runs and spell of 2/12.
Pakistan will hope to bounce back from this loss in the second T20I on March 27, while Afghanistan sits on the cusp of sealing a historic series win. (ANI)
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