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Five-Wicket Spell by Haris Rauf Leaves Afghanistan in Ruins

Haris Rauf

With a career-best five-wicket haul, fast bowler Haris Rauf spearheaded a pace onslaught on Afghanistan and gave Pakistan a commanding 142-run victory in the opening one-day international on Tuesday in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.

After Pakistan scored 201, Afghanistan was dismissed after 20 overs for 59, their second-lowest ODI total under Rauf’s ferocious 5-18.

In the first bilateral encounter between the two countries, Pakistan already leads the three-match series 1-0. The remaining games will played in Colombo on Thursday and Saturday.

After fellow quick Shaheen Shah Afridi had dismissed Rahmat Shah and Ibrahim Zadran for zero runs off consecutive deliveries in the third -, Rauf continued the demolition act.

After Naseem Shah removed Afghanistan’s captain Hashmatullah Shahidi, who was also scoreless, the score slipped to 4-3. Rauf then took over to complete the rout.

Ikram Alikhil (four), leading scorer Rahmanullah Gurbaz (18), Mohammad Nabi (seven), Rashid Khan (naught), and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (four) were all taken out by Rauf to complete a resounding victory.

Rauf’s previous high score of 4-65 came in a 2021 match versus England in Birmingham.

Shaheen’s final score was 2-9.

Against Zimbabwe in Sharjah in 2016, Afghanistan just missed posting their lowest ODI total of 58.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam, who helped his team to a fifth victory over Afghanistan in as many games, stated that Haris’s spell “was game-changing.”

“We intended to put 250 but regrettably fell short, so we needed wickets and our fast bowlers provided them.”

Azam, who was dismissed for a third-ball duck after being caught lbw by Rahman, claimed he was not concerned about his batting performance.

No pressure if you don’t score. I continually grow from my errors. It’s cricket, you score sometimes and don’t other times. We want to be optimistic.

According to Shahidi, Afghanistan lost the chance to outperform its neighbors.

He stated, “It was a chaseable target. “I believe that our shot selection at the start was inadequate, and as a result, we lost some wickets.”

Rahman, a spinner, contributed to Pakistan’s restriction by dismissing Azam, the top ODI batsmen, en route to 3-33. Rashid took 2-42, and Nabi took 2-34.

Pakistan’s renowned batting suffered on a slow surface, with only opener Imam-ul-Haq, who hit a modest 61, Shadab Khan (39), and Iftikhar Ahmed (30) scoring notable runs.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat first, Pakistan lost opener Fakhar Zaman for two runs off the fourth ball of the game before Rahman removed Azam and Mohammad Rizwan (21) in his first spell.

Haq stabilized the innings with a 50-run partnership with Ahmed at the fifth wicket, followed by another 40 with Shadab.

In 94 balls and his 17th ODI half-century, Haq only hit two boundaries.

Before getting run out, Shadab and Naseem (18 not out) added a crucial 35 runs to the ninth wicket partnership.

Brief Scores

Pakistan 201 in 47.1 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 61, Shadab Khan 39, Iftikhar Ahmed 30; Mujeeb Ur Rahman 3-33, Mohammad Nabi 2-34, Rashid Khan 2-42)

Afghanistan 59 all out in 19.2 overs (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 18; Haris Rauf 5-18)

Result: Pakistan won by 142 runs

Toss: Pakistan

Series: Pakistan leads the three-match series 1-0

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