Hambantota: No 10 batsman Naseem Shah hit a boundary off the penultimate delivery to give Pakistan a dramatic one-wicket win over a luckless Afghanistan in the second ODI at Hambantota on Thursday.
The 20-year-old miscued a boundary off fast bowler Fazalhaq Farooqi and ran jubilantly towards the dressing room as Pakistan scored 11 off the final over to finish with 302-9 in 49.5 overs.
The victory gave Pakistan an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series with the last game in Colombo on Saturday.
Pakistan’s late surge overshadowed opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s career-best run-a-ball 151 that lifted Afghanistan to 300-5 in their 50 overs.
The final two overs of Pakistan’s chase were full of drama.
Needing 27 to win, they were brought closer by Shadab Khan who hit Abdul Rahman for a boundary and six off the last two balls of the 49th over.
Farooqi added spice to the drama when he ran out Shadab with his first delivery off the last over when the batsman backed up too far and fell victim to a Mankad dismissal.
But Naseem hit boundaries off the first and fifth delivery to pull off victory.
Naseem hit the same bowler for two last over sixes to give Pakistan victory by one wicket in the Asia Cup Twenty20 game in Sharjah last year.
Shadab, whose 35-ball 48 had three boundaries and a six, revived Pakistan’s chase in the final overs with his team behind at 258-7.
Before the fightback it was opener Imam-ul-Haq’s 105-ball 91 with four boundaries that set the platform.
Haq shared a robust 52-run stand with fellow opener Fakhar Zaman (30) and another 118-run for the second wicket with skipper Babar Azam who made a 66-ball 53 with six boundaries.
But from 170-1 in the 31st over, Afghanistan hit back by grabbing five wickets in the space of 41 runs to push Pakistan to 211-6.
Farooqi had Azam caught off a miscued flick while spinner Mohammad Nabi had Agha Salman (14) and Usama Mir (nought) in the same over. Mohammad Rizwan was run out for two as Pakistan slid badly.
Fellow spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman dismissed Haq in the next over to leave Pakistan in a spot of bother before Afghanistan ran out of luck.
Earlier, it was the 21-year-old Gurbaz who shared an opening stand of 227 with Ibrahim Zadran, who scored a 101-ball 80, after Afghanistan won the toss and batted.
Gurbaz hit 14 boundaries and three sixes against a world-class attack that had reduced Afghanistan to 59 all out in the first game on Tuesday.
Gurbaz’s previous best was 145 against Bangladesh in Chattogram last month.
Zadran also hit out brilliantly with six boundaries and two sixes.
Spinner Usama Mir broke the opening stand in the 40th over when he had Zadran caught at long off, while pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi dismissed Gurbaz caught behind in the 45th over.
Shaheen also had Rashid out for two to finish with 2-58.
Nabi made a run-a-ball 29 before he was caught off Naseem Shah as Afghanistan piled up 73 runs in the last ten overs.
Fast bowler Haris Rauf, who picked up a career-best 5-18 in the first match, went for 48 in seven overs without success.