Fifties from skipper Asghar Afghan (67) and middle-order batsman Hashmatullah Shahidi (97*) helped Afghanistan post a healthy 257 for six
Fifties from skipper Asghar Afghan (67) and middle-order batsman Hashmatullah Shahidi (97*) helped Afghanistan post a healthy 257 for six

Fifties from skipper Asghar Afghan (67) and middle-order batsman Hashmatullah Shahidi (97*) helped Afghanistan post a healthy 257 for six in 50 overs against a disciplined bowling attack of Pakistan at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi in the second match of the 2018 Asia Cup Super Four on Friday.

Opting to bat first, Afghanistan openers Mohammad Shahzad and Ihsanullah Janat found the going tough with debutant Shaheen Afridi, playing in place of out of form Mohammad Amir, and Usman Khan bowling a hostile spell with the new balls.

The Afghan duo though managed to hang around for 26 runs before left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz removed the openers in quick succession. However, skipper Afghan, who started his innings with a six and Shahidi kept the Pakistan bowlers at bay and went about their business in a slow manner. They were aided by poor catching by Pakistani fielders, who dropped a total of four catches in the innings.

They picked up the pace in the Power Plays overs and added 94 runs for the fourth wicket in 16.3 overs.  Rahmat Shah, who made scored a half-century against Sri Lanka in the league stages had made 36 off 52 balls and had combined for a stand of 63 runs for the third wicket with Shahidi. Shah was removed by Nawaz in the 26th over.

Pakistan though come back in the death overs removing Afghan, Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran in a space of 24 runs. 18-year-old left -arm quick Afridi picked two wickets in his second spell to finish with 10-0-38-2.

Afghan made 67 off 56 balls with the help of five sixes and two fours.

Shahidi though motored along and in company of Gulbadin Naib (10*) took Afghanistan to 257. But, Afghanistan may have missed a trick by not promoting Rashid Khan, who had made a scintillating 32-ball 57 a day before against Bangladesh. Shahidi finished on 97 off 118 balls with the help of seven fours.

Brief Scores: Afghanistan 257/6 (Hashmatullah Shahidi 97, Asghar Afghan 67; Mohammad Nawaz 3/57) against Pakistan