Afghanistan have been foiled in their bid for a series sweep against Pakistan, losing the third and final T20 International by 66 runs.
Missing five rested frontline players, Pakistan finally came good to post a challenging 7-182 before bowling Afghanistan out for 116 with eight balls remaining.
Pakistan’s interim captain Shadab Khan and young fast bowler Ihsanullah shared six wickets.
Shadab, with 3-13, became the first Pakistan men’s player to reach 100 wickets in T20Is.
WE DID IT!!!
I am so proud of this team 💙
This win goes to all the people of Afghanistan and our fans around the 🌏
— Rashid Khan (@rashidkhan_19) March 27, 2023
Ihsanullah got 3-29 with his pacey short-pitched deliveries.
Shadab also provided a late flourish with the bat, smashing a 17-ball 28 after Saim Ayub missed out on his first T20I half-century by one run.
Defeat in the dead rubber could not spoil Afghanistan’s history-making effort in winning their first match – and the series 2-1 – against Pakistan in any format.
“It’s a special occasion to be part of this team,” Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan said.
“We won the series, but we have some areas to improve on. We responded well under pressure.
“We have struggled under pressure in the past but I’m happy that we chased in a couple of games.”
Najibullah Zadran retired hurt off the first ball he faced after he was struck on the helmet by Ihsanullah. Concussion substitute Azmatullah Omarzai made 21 before he was the last batter to be dismissed.
Pakistan made only 9-92 and 6-130 in the first two T20Is but adapted better to the conditions in the final match of the series.
Left-hander Saim batted fluently against the pace and spin of Rashid, hitting two sixes and four boundaries, while Abdullah Shafique made 23 off 13 balls and finally broke his drought after failing to score in his previous four T20Is.
Iftikhar Ahmed, playing his first match in the series, made 31 off 25 balls and together with Shadab accelerated well in the death overs to help Pakistan to their best total of the series.
“We wanted to finish on a high note and we have done that,” Shadab said. “We needed to play for Pakistan’s pride and we did it.
“The main motive of this series was to give the youngsters a chance. Hopefully, they will get confidence from these matches and it will help them in the long run.”
Afghanistan struggled to get any momentum in the chase, losing their last seven wickets for 45 runs.
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