Afridi strikes form as Afghanistan lose T20 clash
LAHORE: Afghanistan’s training tour of Pakistan concluded on Wednesday night with the tourists losing the only Twenty20 fixture against Pakistan ‘A’ by 49 runs under lights at the Gaddafi Stadium.
Chasing a challenging target of 190, the Afghans suffered a mid-innings collapse before reaching 140-9 in their stipulated 20 overs. Asghar Stanikzai, however, left a good impression by hitting 47 from 45 deliveries without being dismissed. His knock included a brace of sixes and one four.
Veteran opening batsman Karim Sadiq had earlier played a 15-ball cameo of 28 featuring four boundaries and one six. He was severe on paceman Asad Ali and struck one six and two overs in one over.
The wickets were shared by all-rounder Ali Khan (2-35), slow left-armer Zulfiqar Babar (2-18) and Wahab Riaz, the left-arm seamer who conceded just eight runs for his two wickets.
Earlier, Pakistan ‘A’ rode on opener Ahmed Shehzad’s blazing 45-ball contribution of 68 to post 189-6 after Afghanistan captain Nawroz Mangal decided to put the hosts into bat after winning the toss.
Shehzad adorned his knock with 10 boundaries and one six. The heartening feature of the match was Shahid Afridi showing some signs of regaining the batting form which has deserted the big-hitting Pakistan all-rounder for a long time.
The Pakistan ‘A’ skipper clobbered four boundaries and two sixes in making 45 from 25 balls after Shehzad and Sharjeel Khan (20) had laid a nice platform sharing a first-wicket partnership of 66 in the powerplay overs. Afridi and Shehzad carried the total to 131 by putting on 65 for the second wicket before both were out within the space of eight runs.
For Afghanistan, paceman Dawlat Zadran proved very expensive as his four overs yielded 52 runs and two wickets. Nawroz also grabbed two wickets while giving away 17 runs from his two overs.
Shehzad and Asghar were declared joint recipients of the Man-of-the-Match award.
Pakistan ‘A’ had earlier won the two-match one-day series over Afghanistan at the same venue.