Rashid’s troops vanquish Shadab Khan’s young brigade to script history: Player Ratings for the hosts
Afghanistan created history as they won their first-ever bilateral series against Pakistan in the recent T20Is at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Rashid Khan-led side recalled the former captain and veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi who was ignored for the UAE tour last month. Meanwhile, Pakistan left out their star players including skipper Babar Azam due to workload management.
The hosts won the first game by six wickets while chasing 92 runs with 13 balls remaining. This was the first-ever win for Afghanistan against its neighbors. Pakistan showed a little resistance in the following game while defending 130 runs but Afghanistan managed to come victorious with a ball to spare and sealed a historic series win.
However, Pakistan avoided a clean sweep with a dominant 66-run win in the last game. The returning Pakistani veteran Imad Wasim topped the scoring chart with 95 runs from three innings while debutant pacer Ihsanullah took six wickets to make a big impact on his international outing.
But the fans will be remembering Afghanistan’s historic win and the players who helped achieve it for the years to come. So, let’s take a look at all Afghanistan player ratings.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz (8/10): The star wicketkeeper batter produced crucial starts while chasing in all three games. Gurbaz scored 16 off 17 in the first game to keep the scoreboard moving after early two wickets. But his best knock came in the second match where he pulled off a 56-run stand for the second wicket with Ibrahim Zadran.
He top-scored with 44 off 49 in the second match and added 18 off 11 in the last game to emerge as the leading run-scorer for his team in this series.
Ibrahim Zadran (7/10): Ibrahim Zadran has established himself as one of the best batters for Afghanistan over the last year. But he was not at his best throughout the series against Pakistan. He opened the innings in the first game and scored nine runs but showed his quality in the second game.
His crucial 50-plus partnership with Gurbaz for the second wicket proved a difference as Afghanistan sealed a series. He scored 38 off 40 but went on to score just three runs in the last game while playing at no.3.
Gulbadin Naib (2/10): The experienced batting all-rounder came to batting at no.3 in the opening game but was dismissed on a duck on Ihsanullah’s delivery. He didn’t get a chance to bowl and warmed the bench for the next two games.
Usman Ghani (5/10): Usman Ghani didn’t get a chance in playing XI for the first game with Naib being preferred in the third position. Ghani opened the innings in the second game but managed to score just seven off nine before getting bowled out on Zaman Khan’s delivery.
He was pushed down to number four in the third game and scored 15 off 17 as his teammates struggled for the big knocks. With just 22 runs from two innings, Ghani was below average in this series.
Sediqullah Atal (5/10): The 21-year-old opener made his international debut in the third game but was not able to play impactful innings. He smashed a big six off Zaman Khan but was caught out on just 11 off 19.
Najibullah Zadran (8/10): Najibullah Zadran scored just 40 runs in this series but remained at the crease in all three games as he played a small but crucial role in the first two wins. He scored 17* off 23 to drag Afghanistan from 45/4 to 98/4 in the first match and then smashed 23* off 12 in the second match, including a match-winning four with just a ball remaining.
Mohammad Nabi (9/10): Mohammad Nabi’s return to the team was a big lesson for the Afghanistan Cricket Board. He was dropped from the team for the UAE tour due to his harsh words towards the board after the team’s exit at the 2022 T20 World Cup. But Nabi made the biggest possible impact on his return to prove his worth to Afghanistan cricket.
He took two wickets for 12 and then top-scored with 38* off 38 in the first match to guide Afghanistan to their first-ever win over Pakistan. Then he scored 14* off nine in the second match as Afghanistan won the last-over thriller to secure a series win. Nabi took a wicket and further added 17 off 10 in the last match to win the Player of the Series award.
Karim Janat (7/10): Karim Janat, the top-scorer on the UAE tour, scored just seven runs in the first match while playing in the fifth position and didn’t get a chance to bowl.
But the all-rounder contributed with a ball in the second game with a wicket for 13 as he denied Sami Ayub his first international half-century in the last match by just one run while conceding 10.66 runs per over.
Azmatullah Omarzai (7/10): The young pace all-rounder was not consistent but made a considerable impact in this series. He dismissed Abdullah Shafique on a duck in the first match with an economical spell but struggled for the wickets in the second game. He didn’t bowl in the last match but showcased his batting skills by top-scoring with 21 off 20 while playing at no.11.
Rashid Khan (8/10): After recording a 1-2 series win against UAE last month, the Afghanistan skipper pulled off an almost impossible task to beat the no.3 ranked T20I team.
Rashid managed to get just three wickets from three innings, one in each game, at an economy rate of 5.16. But his leadership skills were ten out of ten. With 129 wickets from 80 matches, Rashid is now only five wickets behind Tim Southee in the most wickets chart in T20Is.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman (8/10): Mujeeb Ur Rahman was the best bowler for Afghanistan in the first match as he took two valuable wickets of Shadab Khan and Azam Khan while conceding just nine runs from his four-over spell. He didn’t get any wickets in the second match but again emerged as the best bowler for his team with two big wickets in the last match.
Fazalhaq Farooqi (9/10): The left-arm pacer returned from the UAE tour without a wicket but dominated against Pakistan with five wickets, only one behind Ihsanullah’s six. He started the series with two big wickets in the first game and two more in the second match to play a big role in Afghanistan’s series win.
Once again, Farooqi was the economically best bowler for Afghanistan in the third game with a wicket for 25. He finished the series with five wickets at an amazing economy rate of 4.75.
Naveen-ul-Haq (6/10): Naveen-ul-Haq managed to get two wickets in this series but was less impressive than his teammates. He took two wickets from two innings at an economy rate of 7.50 and was dropped for the third game.Fareed Ahmad (5/10): Fareed Ahmad failed to get into the playing eleven for the first two games but was awarded a chance in the last game. He managed to get Shadab Khan’s big wicket but conceded 28 runs from his two-over spell.