Afghanistan vs Pakistan 2nd T20I: Preview and Prediction
After a ruthless thrashing in the first T20I, Pakistan will look to level the equation against Afghanistan in the 2nd T20I of the three-match T20I on Thursday. Like the previous contest, this too will be staged at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
This is the first time Pakistan is traveling for a three-match T20I series against Afghanistan and they kickstarted in an unpleasant way. In the absence of renowned players, they suffered a loss in the first T20I. Afghanistan steamrolled their neighbors and won by 6 wickets.
Winning the toss, Shadab Khan, the skipper of Pakistan had opted to bat first. The batting failed to gel up and was closed up for 92 runs after a shambolic show in the first innings with the willow in hand.
Arriving for the chase, Afghanistan lost a few wickets and then with the support from Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran, chased it down with 13 balls to spare. Despite getting the win, it wasn’t a great sign for the top-order batting of the Afghans.
What have they done so far?
The Afghanistan side, led by Rashid Khan was on a winning momentum against UAE and continued the run even against Pakistan in the first T20I. Pakistan had a rough start, losing Mohammed Haris, Abdullah Shafique, and Saim Ayub inside the powerplay. They were reduced to 39-4 as a result of the collapse. Wickets felt like nine pins, and Pakistan’s innings ended at 92/9 after 20 overs.
The only four to reach double digits were Imad Wasim (18), Saim Ayub (17), Tayyab Tahir (16), and Shadab Khan (12). Fazalhaq Farooqi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi all had two wickets to their names. The remaining three were divided equally among Rashid Khan, Azmatullah Omarzai, and Naveen-ul-Haq.
Arriving for the chase, Afghanistan withstood early blows en route to a meagre 92-run chase. Openers Ibraham Zadran and Rahmanullah Gurbaz were watchful for the first over overs but Ihsanullah came in and rushed the batters with speed.
The young speed gun removed Ibrahim and Gulbadin Naib in his first over of the debut game, followed by Naseem Shah removing the dangerous Gurbaz in the next over. Karim Janat followed them back to the dugout and it was Nabi and Najibullah Zadran who were at either end of the strip then.
Both batters kept their cool and nudged around for a while. Just after the 14th over, Zadran shifted gears and Nabi joined hands. He struck some boundaries and smoked a six off Ihsanullah over the straight area to ride his side past the finishing line.
Head to Head Record
Both nations have squared off against each other only four times in the history of international T20s. Pakistan leads the tally 3-1 at the moment but Afghanistan would be high on confidence after securing their first win against Pakistan in the previous game.
Earlier, Pakistan toured to UAE for a one-off Twenty20 competition in 2013 and won it. Later, they eclipsed the opposition once in the T20 World Cup and then in the 2022 Asia Cup.
Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan): The President was sensational in the last match against Pakistan. He played a calm knock of run-a-ball 38 runs and showed why experience is such an important aspect of cricket.
In addition, he also bagged a wicket. His all-round skills will be a key asset to Afghanistan cricket.
Ihsanullah (Pakistan): In the absence of star-studded names like Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf, Ihsanullah played a great part in the latest T20I. He has the ability to rush the batters with sheer pace and can click 145 plus consistently.
The youngster bagged two wickets in an over in the first T20I, removing established cricketers – Ibrahim Zadran and Gulbadin Naib. Moreover, he is tight with his line and length and can deliver across varied phases of the game.
Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Rashid Khan ©, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Naveen-ul-Haq
Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Saim Ayub, Mohammad Haris (wk), Azam Khan, Tayyab Tahir, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan ©, Imad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Ihsanullah, Zaman Khan
After a serious thrashing in the first T20I, Pakistan will look to bounce back hard against Afghanistan. One can expect the visitors to edge past their opposition this time as they will be blazing all guns out.
On contrary, it won’t be any shocker if the Afghanistan side replicates their act from the first match once again. They do possess a strong line-up and can beat this young Pakistan team on their day.