Afghanistan’s first one-day international against a Test-playing nation ended in an honorable seven-wicket defeat by Pakistan on Friday.
A large crowd turned out in Sharjah to watch Afghanistan make a slice of cricketing history, while Pakistan prepared for its limited-over series with England next week. Though the result was expected, Afghanistan put up a good fight.
Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi collected five wickets, while Younus Khan hit an unbeaten 70.
Afridi’s 5-36, which followed his 5-35 against Sri Lanka at the same venue in November last year, played a key role in restricting Afghanistan to 195 after it chose to bat first.
Younus steadied Pakistan nerves when his team was reduced to 99-3.
Less than four years ago Afghanistan played in a tournament against the likes of Japan and Jersey, the team showed little fear when batting against Pakistan — even thought none of their batsmen made a significant contribution.
Afghanistan’s top score was 40 from Karim Sadiq, while Mohammed Nabi made 37 as Pakistan used four spinners to help strangle the innings.
Younus and captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who made 40 not out from 55 deliveries, added 99 from 93 balls for the fourth wicket as Pakistan won with 77 deliveries to spare.
Imran Farhat, who sat out Pakistan’s recent Test series with England, made 52, while seamer Dawlat Zadran was the pick of Afghanistan’s attack with 2-38.
The victory for Pakistan continues its winning momentum following the 3-0 win in the Test series against England. The four-match ODI and three-game Twenty20 series between those two sides begins in Abu Dhabi tomorrow.