Hashmatullah Shahidi’s unbeaten 74 paved the way for Afghanistan to clinch a surprise three-wicket win over Pakistan in Friday’s World Cup warm-up match in Bristol.
After being routed by England in their recent one-day international series, this was another blow for Pakistan just six days before the World Cup begins.
Pakistan were bowled out for 262 after captain Sarfaraz Ahmed decided to bat first.
Mohammad Nabi took 3-46 to keep Pakistan from establishing control despite a powerful innings of 112 from 108 balls from Babar Azam.
Only Shoaib Malik’s 44 offered any other threat for Pakistan, who struggled to keep Afghanistan in check during the run chase.
They came up against dynamic effort from Hazratullah Zazai, who scorched Pakistan with a 28-ball 49 in the first Powerplay.
From that point on, the asking rate was always in control, with Hashmatullah’s 102-ball innings aided by Nabi’s quickfire 34 helping Afghanistan seal the win with two balls left.
Faf leads by example
South Africa captain Faf Du Plessis led by example with a confident 88 as his side cruised to an 87-run win over Sri Lanka in their World Cup warm-up on Friday.
Du Plessis was supported by Hashim Amla in a second-wicket partnership of 128 that swung the game in South Africa’s favour.
Needing just 69 balls to demolish the Sri Lanka attack in Cardiff, Du Plessis was the cornerstone of the innings, while Amla’s 65 came in just 61 balls.
Rassie van der Dussen (40) and Andile Phehlukwayo (35) also impressed as South Africa reached an imposing total of 338 for seven in their 50 overs.
Sri Lanka’s response revolved around captain Dimuth Karunaratne, who hit 87, and 64 in 66 balls from Angelo Mathews, but the South African bowling attack proved as effective as their batsmen.
Phehlukwayo added to his batting exploits by taking four for 36 with the ball as the Sri Lanka challenge ended at 251 all out.
South Africa face West Indies in another warm-up game at Bristol on Sunday before opening the tournament against hosts England on May 30.
Sri Lanka play Australia in their final warm-up game at Southampton on Monday, then begin their World Cup campaign against New Zealand on June 1.