Pakistan win toss, opt to bat in final ODI


Skippers Babar Azam and Hasmatullah during the toss on August 26, 2023. — PCB
Skippers Babar Azam and Hasmatullah during the toss on August 26, 2023. — PCB 

Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat first on Saturday in the final one-day international (ODI) match of the series against Afghanistan.

Pakistan have already won the series 2-0 and will be looking to make a clean sweep in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where Afghanistan is hosting the series.

If Pakistan win the match today, they will not only relish the clean sweep victory but will also overtake Australia and jump to the top spot in the International Cricket Council (ICC) ODI ranking.

Ahead of the match today, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam remarked that the first 10 overs would be tough.

“We will increase the pressure on the Afghan team by setting a huge target,” he said, adding that four changes had been made to the playing eleven.

He added that Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Wasim Jr are playing today in place of Usama Mir, Iftikhar Ahmed, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf.

On the other hand, Afghanistan suffered a blow when all-rounder Azmatullah Umarzai was ruled out of the third ODI match due to side strain.

All-rounder Gulbadin Naib has been brought in to replace Azmatullah, the Afghanistan Cricket Board said.

During the last match, both sides went head-to-head in an intense clash.

The Men in Green continued their superb form, even as the match seemed lost at one point. However, Naseem Shah — who led Pakistan to a victory against the same opposition in Asia Cup 2022 — once again guided Pakistan to a thrilling victory in the last over, helping the side score the much-needed 11 runs off 6 balls.

Playing XI

Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (captain), Salman Ali Agha, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Shaheen Afridi.

Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Gulbadin Naib, Riaz Hassan, Shahidullah Kamal, Mohammad Nabi, Fareed Ahmad Malik, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi

More to follow…

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