Afridi and Younus propel Pakistan
Shahid Afridi and Younus Khan put their experience to good use as Pakistan warmed up for their limited-overs matches against England with a comfortable seven-wicket win over a spirited Afghanistan outfit in Sharjah.
The affiliate side, playing their first one-day international against a full International Cricket Council member, demonstrated plenty of potential and no little skill in posting 195 all out after captain Nawroz Mangal had elected to bat on a true surface.
Six sixes were struck during Afghanistan’s entertaining innings and Pakistan would have been left with a much stiffer target were it not for the efforts of leg-spinning all-rounder Afridi, who returned 5-36 from 10 overs.
Younus then marshalled a successful run-chase with an unbeaten 65-ball 70. Opener Imran Farhat contributed 52 and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq added 40 not out.
Karim Sadiq and Mohammad Shahzad impressed with the bat for Afghanistan after Noor Ali Zadran had fallen cheaply.
The former struck two fours and two maximums en route to 40, while Shahzad - who compiled two half-centuries against England for the ICC’s Combined Associate and Affiliate XI last month - picked up a six of his own with a stunning reverse hit over square-leg off Saeed Ajmal.
However, both were soon dismissed by Afridi, who also accounted for Mangal and Gulbodin Naib to reduce Afghanistan to 101 for five, before completing his five-wicket haul by trapping Mirwais Ashraf lbw.
Mohammad Nabi and Samiullah Shenwari lifted their team with respective knocks of 37 and 32, but Pakistan had few problems in reaching their target despite losing Mohammad Hafeez and Asad Shafiq in seamer Dawlat Zadran’s opening spell.
Farhat and Younus shared 57, the former reaching his fifty from 62 balls - with nine fours, only to then be caught and bowled by Shenwari soon after.
Misbah then joined forces with Younus to see Pakistan home, inside 38 overs, with the minimum of fuss.