(CTN News) – In the third ODI at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, Pakistan beat Afghanistan by 59 runs to clinch the series 3-0.
Pakistan will begin the Asia Cup campaign as the top-ranked team in ODIs according to the ICC.
Afghanistan were all out at 209 runs in 48.4 overs after chasing a challenging target of 269 runs to avoid a whitewash by the green shirts.
Afghanistan’s final three batters led by Mujeeb-ur-Rehman provided some respectability to the total after their top order failed to cope with Pakistan’s steady bowling.
Only 75 runs had been scored when Afghanistan lost six batsmen. Pakistan’s quality fast bowling and spin attack was making it difficult for Afghanistan batters to cope at this point. Having lost his seventh wicket at 97, Shahidullah was joined by Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, who played his best innings ever.
In spite of Shahidullah’s departure at 154 runs, Mujeeb continued to hit boundaries against both quicks and spinners. In his last innings, he scored the fastest fifty by any Afghanistan batter. In just 37 balls, he scored 64 runs while hitting five fours and the same number of maximums.
As soon as he got back to his hut, Afghanistan was bundled out on 209 runs in 48 hours.
In addition to Shadab Khan’s three wickets, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Faheem Ashraf and Muhammad Nawaz each claimed two wickets, while Agha Salan took one.
Despite a tough pitch, Muhammad Rizwan scored a gritty fifty. i
The series’ man of the series was Imam-ul-Haq.
Captain Babar Azam chose to bat first on a dry pitch with some grass cover earlier in the day.
In the first innings, Pakistani openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq made a cautious start against a disciplined Afghan bowling attack.
On an individual score of 27 runs, Fakhar Zaman was the first to return to the hut. Pakistan lost the second opener after losing the first wicket with 36 runs on the board.
Against disciplined bowling on a sluggish track, Babar Azam and Muhammad Rizwan were having trouble rotating strikes and finding boundaries.
Nevertheless, they remained at the wicket. The batters started finding boundaries after the second drink break, which helped them reach their half-centuries. Their partnership was valued at 110 runs before Babar Azam was out on an individual score of 60 runs. A huge six and four boundaries were the highlights of his performance against Rashid Khan.
A quick succession of wickets was taken by Saud Shakil (9), Muhammad Rizwan (67) and Shadab Khan (3) in the last match.
Pakistan crossed the 250-run threshold when Agha Salman and Muhammad Nawaz stitched a 61-run partnership.
As for Muhammad Nawaz, he was out on 30, while Agha Salman scored an unbeaten 38 runs.