Haris Rauf makes new records against Afghanistan in the 1st ODI

Haris Rauf, a fiery player, recorded his first ODI five-for

The ideal technique to break the ice that spinners with batters in a tangle have created is for fast bowlers to have hitters leap and sway away. On Tuesday in Hambantota, Pakistan bundling out Afghanistan for 59 to earn a commanding victory brought the pleasure of watching bowlers at work to a beautiful peak.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rashid Khan, and Mohammad Nabi, the spin trio from Afghanistan, first spun Pakistan out for 201. Following that, Pakistan’s pace trio of Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Naseem Shah put on a ferocious performance to restrict Afghanistan to their second-lowest ODI score, helping Pakistan win the first ODI by 142 runs.

After Afridi and Naseem initiated the Afghan collapse, Haris Rauf picked up five wickets for 18, his highest ODI performance. The first ball of Afridi’s second over saw him bounce Ibrahim Zadran out, while the next ball saw Rahmat Shah flick a full toss to short midwicket. 

Hashmatullah Shahidi was sent off a bouncer by Naseem, who was keeping Gurbaz on a leash with his quick movements and high tempo. Shahidi, who attempted the pull and nearly cleared the forward square leg, felt it get large on her. 

The Afghanistan skipper was however dismissed by Shadab Khan, who jumped to his left and lobbed the ball high before grabbing it in a single motion and landing on his feet.

The rest of Afghanistan’s batting display was also not particularly impressive because three of the first four batters were dismissed for a duck. Ikram Alikhil, who was playing in an ODI for the first time since November 2019, inside-edged a nip-backer from Rauf to the wicketkeeper to start his spell. 

Throughout his whole stay, Gurbaz struggled to feel at ease, and his highest score of the innings—18—was achieved by feathering an outside edge to the wicketkeeper.

While Rauf raced through the middle order and finished with a five-for after Mujeeb misplayed one to mid-on, Azmatullah Omarzai attacked his way to 16 off 12 with three fours before retiring injured.

When Babar Azam won the toss earlier in the day on a hot afternoon, Pakistan chose to bat on a dry surface but were reduced to 7 for 2 in two overs. Fazalhaq Farooqi, a left-arm pacer, first caused Fakhar Zaman some swing before nicking him off to slip. 

When the second ball moved away, he slid in an inswinging yorker, and Fakhar could not help but poke it. Babar was bowled out leg before for a three-ball blob by Mujeeb, who opened the bowling, who slipped one full in line of the stumps that skidded on.

Mohammad Rizwan, who had batted at No. 5 in the prior series against New Zealand, was back at No. 4, and he immediately appeared to be in good form. In the fifth over, he hit two fours against Farooqi. 

He first lofted a full ball through the extra cover gap before gliding one through the same area the next ball. To increase Pakistan’s run rate, Rizwan struck two additional fours off Farooqi’s subsequent over.

But Mujeeb knocked Rizwan out cold in his fourth over, giving Pakistan the advantage. He threw a carrom ball around Rizwan’s leg, but he missed it as he tried to defend against being hit in the back leg. The bails would have been clipped, according to replays. Pakistan struggled to 62 for 4 as Agha Salman, fresh off a good series against New Zealand at home in May, was stalled before being stumped by a Rashid googly.

Imam-ul-Haq continued to play Mujeeb, Rashid, and Nabi’s spin off the back foot while also punishing Farooqi for bad balls and, more crucially, keeping up a steady pace. His fifty years were a proper graft because they only contained the two fours. While wickets were falling all around him, he sprinted well between the stumps.

However, he top-edged one after coming down the track in an effort to boost the ante against Nabi. Shahidi ran back from cover, but she was unable to hold on. 

When Omarzai successfully shelled Imam’s lofted drive to deep cover before a careless draw came just short of allowing long-on to run in, Imam gained another life. Imam’s luck, though, ran out when he attempted to target Nabi over mid-on and misfired a shot to Rashid, who took a falling catch after backing up.

Imam found two capable partners during his time in the middle, first in Iftikhar Ahmed, with whom he scored 50 runs off 69 for the fifth wicket, and then in Shadab, with whom he had a 40-run partnership.

Iftikhar used the crease against spin and took them out for singles and doubles, which enabled Pakistan to make a comeback. Using the cut shot on each of his two fours, he did not let short and wide deliveries escape punishment. However, he chipped a catch to short midwicket off an off-spinning delivery from Nabi that held up on the surface.

Shadab, who was taking part in just his fourth ODI in 2023, chose Rashid’s googly early and struck him over the head. He and Naseem scored another 34 runs together for the ninth wicket until he was run out at the bowler’s end by Mujeeb with a direct smash from fine leg.

For the first time in ODIs, Afghanistan was able to bowl out Pakistan, but their search for a first-ever victory over their rivals in the format is still ongoing due to a meek batting collapse.