PAK vs AFG, Unraveling the Thrilling Encounter: Babar Azam’s Heroics Propel Pakistan to 282/7 against Afghanistan

As per Cricbuzz report, Pak vs Afg, In the scorching heat of Chennai, Pakistan’s cricket team showcased a commendable batting performance, amassing a total of 282/7 in their ODI clash against Afghanistan. Babar Azam, the prolific Pakistani skipper, played a pivotal role in this innings, notching up his 30th ODI fifty. Alongside Azam, Iftikhar Ahmed’s explosive cameo added a dose of excitement to the game, ultimately helping Pakistan set a competitive target. The match witnessed an unusual turn of events as a significant portion—38 overs, to be precise—was bowled by spinners, making it the third-highest number of overs bowled by spinners in a ICC World Cup fixture.

PAK vs AFG: Abdullah Shafique’s PowerPlay Six

Right from the outset, Pakistan appeared to be on the upswing. Abdullah Shafique made a statement in the fifth over by smashing a Naveen-ul-Haq delivery for a colossal six. This was a significant moment as it marked the first six hit by a Pakistan batter in the PowerPlay during the 2023 season. The openers, Imam-ul-Haque and Shafique, capitalized on the favorable batting conditions and formed a promising partnership of 56 runs.

Imam’s Departure: Azmatullah Strikes

Azmatullah Omarzai, the Afghan bowler, delivered the much-needed breakthrough when he had Imam-ul-Haque caught off a familiar short ball at midwicket. This wicket brought Afghanistan back into the game after Pakistan’s solid start. On the other hand, Shafique continued to impress in the World Cup, reaching a well-deserved fifty off 50 deliveries. This was his second half-century in the tournament, complementing his earlier century.

Noor Ahmad’s Double Blow

It was Noor Ahmad, the young left-arm leggie brought into the side for Fazalhaq Farooqi, who made a significant impact. Noor first trapped Shafique lbw, leaving the Pakistani camp in a difficult situation on a challenging pitch. He followed this up by eliciting a top-edge from Mohammad Rizwan, further increasing Pakistan’s woes in scoring.

Babar Azam’s Crucial Partnership

Despite the wickets falling at regular intervals, another partnership emerged to provide some relief for Pakistan. Babar Azam and Saud Shakeel combined for a 43-run stand, aiming to steer Pakistan to a competitive total. However, Mohammad Nabi, the Afghan all-rounder, put an end to this partnership by dismissing Shakeel, who was caught at mid-on after a series of dot balls.

Noor Ahmad’s Pivotal Dismissal

The real turning point came when Noor Ahmad dismissed the Pakistani skipper, Babar Azam, in the 42nd over. This moment had the potential to deflate Pakistan’s innings. Thankfully, Iftikhar Ahmed, the man of the hour, stepped up to the plate. He began his innings by hitting a six off the dangerous Rashid Khan, subsequently launching an assault on the Afghan bowlers, including Naveen-ul-Haq and Azmatullah.

Iftikhar and Shadab Khan’s Crucial Partnership

Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan, who was back in the side as a replacement for the ailing Mohammad Nawaz, joined forces and added 73 runs for the sixth wicket. This partnership posed a significant threat to Afghanistan’s chances in the game.

A Remarkable Debut for Noor Ahmad

Notably, Noor Ahmad, the youngest player to feature in this World Cup at just 18 years of age, returned with figures of 3 for 49 in his first World Cup appearance. His performance was instrumental in providing Afghanistan with key breakthroughs on a day when their lead spinner, Rashid Khan, remained wicketless.

In a thrilling contest marked by fluctuating fortunes, Pakistan posted a competitive total of 282/7, largely thanks to the brilliance of Babar Azam, Abdullah Shafique, and Iftikhar Ahmed. As Afghanistan prepares to chase this target, the game promises to be a riveting spectacle with spin playing a crucial role.

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