Naseem Shah’s exceptional performance dashed Afghanistan’s hopes and secured an insurmountable lead for Pakistan in the ODI series.

Following their remarkable victory in the first match, Pakistan secured another thrilling win on Thursday in the second one-day international (ODI) series against Afghanistan, this time by just one wicket in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.

Pakistan’s Men in Green maintained their excellent form, building on their previous 142-run victory in the first ODI to clinch the series.

Naseem Shah, who had previously led Pakistan to victory against Afghanistan in the 2022 Asia Cup, once again played a pivotal role in this nail-biting win. Pakistan needed 11 runs off the last six balls, and Naseem ensured they achieved this feat in the final over.

In pursuit of a target of 301 runs, Pakistan lost opener Fakhar Zaman early, managing just 52 runs. However, Imam-ul-Haq and skipper Babar Azam came together to form a crucial 118-run partnership, putting their team in a commanding position.

But right after completing his fifty, Babar was dismissed by Fazalhaq Farooq, triggering a series of wickets for the Pakistani side.

At one point, victory seemed unlikely for Pakistan, but Shadab Khan played a crucial role in bringing them back into the game with his 48 runs off 35 balls.

The last over was full of drama. As Fazalhaq prepared to bowl, he attempted to run out Shadab, who was at the non-striker’s end. However, following Shadab’s unusual dismissal, Naseem took charge of Pakistan’s batting and steered them to victory.

In the first innings, Afghanistan’s opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz played a spectacular innings, scoring 151 runs to help his team post a total of 300-5 in 50 overs.

Afghanistan chose to bat first, and their opening pair of Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran put on an impressive partnership of 227 runs. This partnership was the second-highest in Afghanistan’s ODI history. Zadran contributed 80 runs before being dismissed, just missing out on his century. However, Gurbaz continued his onslaught, achieving a run-a-ball 150 before getting out in the 45th over. His explosive innings included 14 boundaries and three sixes.

Shaheen Shah Afridi took two wickets, while Naseem Shah and Usama Mir managed one each.

In terms of team changes, Afghanistan brought in Riaz Hassan and Shahid Kamal to replace Rahmat Shah and Azmatullah Omarzai, who had retired hurt in the first ODI. Pakistan, on the other hand, remained unchanged for the contest.