Pakistan dished out a fine bowling display to restrict Afghanistan to a below-par 129 for six in a crucial Asia Cup Super 4 match in Sharjah on Wednesday.
Afghanistan made a positive start after being sent in to bat with Hazratullah Zazai (21) and wicket-keeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz (17) sharing 36 runs for the opening wicket.
After a sedate opening over, Afghanistan broke free in the next over with Gurbaz hitting Mohammad Hasnain for back-to-back sixes to pick up 16 runs.
Zazai matched his partner by finding the boundary twice in the next over before Haris Rauf cleaned up Gurbaz in the fifth delivery of the fourth over.
Despite the fall of wicket, Zazai continued his attacking vein, hitting Hasnain for a boundary before perishing in the fifth delivery after the bowler castled him with a deceptive slower delivery.
Karim Janat (15) and Ibrahim Zadran (35 off 37) then tried to steady the ship as Afghanistan reached 72 for two in 10 overs.
With runs hard to come by, Janat tried to force the pace of the innings but in vain as he was holed out by Fakhar Zaman off Mohammad Nawaz in the 12th over while trying for an extravagant slog sweep.
Najibullah Zadran (10) started his knock in a rollicking fashion, whipping Shadab Khan over deep midwicket before the spinner had the last laugh.
It became bad to worse for Afghanistan when Mohammad Nabi departed in the next ball with Naseem Shah disturbing his timbers for a first-ball duck.
Ibrahim Zadran, however, continued to play his attacking shots and struck Shadab over the cover fence for a maximum in the next over.
Zadran’s knock was cut short in the next over by Rauf (2/26) when the batter thick edged a delivery behind stumps to Mohammad Rizwan.
In the last over, Rashid Khan (18 not out) used his long handle to great effect and smashed Rauf for a six and a four to pick up 10 runs and take Afghanistan close to the 130-run mark.
Afghanistan: 129 for 6 in 20 overs (Ibrahim Zadran 35; Haris Rauf 2/26).