Pakistan kept their semifinal hopes alive after their tense three-wicket win over Afghanistan during their ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 clash at Headingley on Saturday. By the virtue of this win, the Men In Green have now moved to the fourth position in the points table with four wins, three losses in their eight matches. One of their contests against Sri Lanka was washed away due to rain. The Sarfaraz Ahmed-led side have nine points and all they need to do as of now is win their final league match against Bangladesh in order to be in a better position to qualify for the semis. At the same time, the 1992 winners will also be hoping that their arch-rivals will get the better of hosts England at Edgbaston on Sunday.
Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin Naib won the toss and elected to bat first. They were on the backfoot right from the start after back-to-back dismissals of Naib and Hashmatullah Shahidi as the Afghans were reduced to 27/2. Rahmat Shah (35) along with Asghar Afghan and Najibullah Zadran (with respective scores of 42) helped Afghanistan get to a decent total of 227/9 in their 50 overs. Young Shaheen Afridi was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan with figures of 4/47 in his 10 overs at an economy rate of 4.70.
Shaheen also became the first teenager to take a four-wicket haul in World Cups.
In reply, Pakistan lost opener Fakhar Zaman on the second delivery of their run chase. Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam were then involved in a 72 run stand for the second wicket. Both off them were dismissed in quick successions as Pakistan were reeling at 81/3. Mohammad Hafeez and Haris Sohail were involved in a small partnership but even they failed to hang around till the end. After captain Sarfaraz Ahmed was run out, it seemed that it will be curtains down for the Champions Trophy holders.
Nonetheless, their tail-enders delivered when it mattered the most. Imad Wasim scored an unbeaten 54-ball 49 and he got some valuable support from Shadab Khan and Wahab Riaz as Pakistan got home with two balls to spare. Imad was adjudged Man of the Match for his brilliant all-round performance. He had also scalped two wickets of Rahmat Shah and Ikram Ali Khil respectively.