File photo of Pakistan cricket team.© AFP
Pakistan will be having a golden opportunity to take the number 1 ODI spot from Australia ahead of the Asia Cup 2023. When the Babar Azam-led side takes on Afghanistan in the third and final ODI match on Saturday, it could be a passageway for them to move to the number 1 spot from number 2. Currently, both Pakistan and Australia have a rating of 118 each to their credit, but the latter team’s better overall points have helped it become the numero uno. However, if Pakistan manage to beat Afghanistan in the game on Saturday it will take their rating over to that of Australia. Since, rating is the first criterion of ranking, the overall points could not play any role once Pakistan win the game and improve their rating.
While Pakistan won the first game of the series against Afghanistan with a comfortable margin of 142 runs, the second match was a tight battle in which the Babar Azam and company somehow managed to end up on the winning side.
Number ten batter Naseem Shah hit a boundary off the penultimate delivery to give Pakistan a dramatic one-wicket win over a luckless Afghanistan in the second ODI at Hambantota on Thursday. The 20-year-old miscued a boundary off fast bowler Fazalhaq Farooqi and ran jubilantly towards the dressing room as Pakistan scored 11 off the final over to finish with 302 for 9 in 49.5 overs. The victory gave Pakistan an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series with the last game in Colombo.
Pakistan’s late surge in the game overshadowed Afghanistan opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz‘s career-best run-a-ball 151 that lifted his team to 300 for 5 in their 50 overs.
(With AFP Inputs)
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