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Pakistan's captain Babar Azam (second from left) celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of Afghanistan's Hashmatullah Shahidi during the third and final ODI at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on August 26. Image Credit: AFP

Colombo: After leading his team to an ODI series sweep over Afghanistan on Saturday, Pakistan captain Babar Azam said he was hopeful of his team producing ‘good’ cricket in the upcoming Asia Cup.

Pakistan posted a facile 59-run win over their western neighbours at the R Premadasa Stadium in Sri Lanka on Saturday, completing a whitewash of the three-match series.

Speaking to media persons after leading his team to the top of the ODI rankings, the Pakistan skipper weighed in on the current dressing room ambience saying that the momentum that they gained during the series whitewash against Afghanistan will stand them in good stead going into the Asia Cup.

“We are excited going into the Asia Cup. The manner of our series victory over Afghanistan will serve us well in the tournament. It wasn’t as easy against Afghanistan as some people think. Everyone is aware of their spin prowess. The momentum we gained in this series will give us confidence in the Asia Cup. We are hopeful of producing good cricket for our fans,” Babar told PCB Digital.

Following their 3-0 series win, Pakistan leapfrogged Australia to go top of the ICC ODI rankings.

“When you achieve the number 1 position, it gives you a lot of joy and satisfaction. This is the result of the efforts that the entire squad, including the support staff, put in. We were on top of the ODI rankings earlier but dropped to Number 2 after losing a game,” Babar added.

Unassailable lead

Pakistan had already taken an unassailable lead in the series against Afghanistan, winning the first two matches in contrasting styles, the third match assumed significance for the Babar Azam-led team as they were within a sniffing distance of Australia in the ODI rankings. They won the first ODI by 142 runs at the back of a brilliant bowling display.

The second game turned out to be a nail-biter, with the Men in Green squeezing out a win in the last over, with the last pair standing.

The third ODI saw Afghanistan going down by 59 runs. Despite stumbling in the middle overs with the bat, Pakistan finished strongly on a slow pitch, posting a challenging 268.

Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam lifted Pakistan to a fighting score with half-centuries.

In reply, Afghanistan were rocked early, with all-rounder Faheem Ashraf picking up two wickets.

Thereafter, the spinner struck at regular intervals to dent Afghanistan’s chances.

Bowling all-rounder Mujeeb ur Rahman, however, brought Afghanistan back into the contest with a combative, 26-ball half-century.

However, Pakistan prevailed in the end, winning by 59 runs.

Leg-spinner Shadab Khan finished with three wickets against his name, helping Pakistan complete a series whitewash.