Pakistan put up an improved batting performance in the third and final Twenty20 international against Afghanistan, scoring 182-7 in Sharjah on Monday. Opener Saim Ayub top-scored with a solid 49 off 40 balls, including two sixes and four boundaries, while Iftikhar Ahmed contributed 31 off 25 balls with two sixes. Skipper Shadab Khan and Abdullah Shafique also made useful contributions, scoring 28 and 23 runs respectively.
Pakistan had previously struggled in the series, with scores of 92-9 and 130-6 in two defeats after being sent in to bat by Afghanistan. The visitors had already won the series 2-0, having won the first match by six wickets and the second by seven.
For Afghanistan, spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman was the pick of the bowlers, taking 2-28. In response, Afghanistan elected to field first after winning the toss, with Rashid Khan’s side looking for a whitewash.
Pakistan made two changes to their side, bringing in Iftikhar Ahmed and Muhammad Wasim Junior in place of Azam Khan and Naseem Shah. However, the team got off to a poor start, with Muhammad Haris and Tayyab Tahir both failing to make significant contributions.
Abdullah Shafique, who had previously been dismissed for a duck in the first four matches, was bowled by Rashid Khan after scoring 23 runs off 13 balls. Saim Ayub’s innings was the highlight of Pakistan’s batting, but he fell just one run short of his first International fifty.
Imad Wasim scored 13 runs off seven balls, while skipper Shadab Khan added 28 runs off 17 balls. Pakistan ended their innings with a total of 182 in 20 overs.
The playing XI for Afghanistan included Usman Ghani, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Sediqullah Atal, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Rashid Khan (c), Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, and Farid Ahmad Malik. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s playing XI consisted of Mohammad Haris (wk), Saim Ayub, Shadab Khan (c), Mohammad Nawaz, Iftikhar Ahmed, Abdullah Shafique, Tayyab Tahir, Imad Wasim, Ihsanullah, Mohammad Wasim, and Zaman Khan.
The umpires for the match were Ahmed Shah Pakteen (AFG) and Bismillah Jan Shinwari (AFG), while the TV umpire was Akbar Ali. The match referee was Hamim Talwar (AFG).