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Afghanistan score landmark T20 series win over Pakistan

Afghanistan have showcased another impressive run-chase to beat Pakistan by seven wickets in the second Twenty20 international and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

It is the first time that Afghanistan have won a series against a top-six ranked ICC team.

Pakistan chose to bat first on Sunday in the UAE but their inexperienced top-order again disappointed before recalled Imad Wasim smashed an unbeaten 64 off 57 balls and captain Shadab Khan made 32 to increase the final total to 6-130.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz (44) and Ibrahim Zadran (38) led Afghanistan’s chase before Najibullah Zadran (23 not out) and Mohammad Nabi (14no) guided their team to 3-133 with a ball to spare.

“It’s a great honour and pleasure to lead this wonderful team,” Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan said.

“Great effort with the ball, and then we took it deep and finished it … We have players to finish it like Nabi and Najib.”

Needing 22 off the last two overs, Najibullah and Nabi struck a six each in Naseem Shah’s penultimate over which went for 17 and effectively ended Pakistan’s hopes.

Afghanistan recorded a memorable six-wicket win against Pakistan on Friday after pinning down Shadab’s team to 9-92.

Saim Ayub, who made his T20 debut in the first game, edged behind the second ball of the match at Sharjah Cricket Stadium from Fazalhaq Farooqi (2-19). Abdullah Shafique became the first men’s batter in T20 history to record a fourth straight duck when he was trapped lbw by Farooqi, leaving Pakistan at 2-0.

Mohammad Haris (15) and Tayyab Tahir (13) also failed to gauge the wicket well. Azam Khan (one) was baffled by Rashid’s sharp googly and was out lbw as Pakistan slipped to 5-63 in 11 overs.

Imad and Shadab then combined in a 67-run stand before Shadab was run out off the last ball while going for a second run.

Gurbaz made a powerful start for Afghanistan when he smashed Naseem (0-39) for a six and a boundary in the first over and took the game deep by adding 56 runs with Ibrahim. Gurbaz was run out and fast bowler Ihsanullah (1-23) had Ibrahim caught behind in the 18th over but Najibullah and Nabi sealed the game with their belligerent hitting against Naseem in the penultimate over.

“When you lose three wickets in powerplay, you lose 70 per cent of the games … The young players were nervous,” Shadab said.

“They are playing for the first time for Pakistan, but we have to back them.”

The third T20 is on Monday.

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