Pakistan v Afghanistan: Cricket World Cup 2023 – live | Cricket World Cup 2023
Another one for Noor! He persuades Rizwan to sweep at one that is too far outside off stump and yields only a simple catch to the man on the 45. Noor has now removed both the form players in the Pakistan top order. Teenage kicks, all through the night.
24th over: Pakistan 118-2 (Babar Azam 33, Mohammad Rizwan 7) Rizwan, such a resourceful operator, sees the need to get back on top here. After a few dots, he surprises Mujeeb by pulling out the slog-sweep and hitting a six.
23rd over: Pakistan 110-2 (Babar Azam 33, Mohammad Rizwan 0) After bamboozling one in-form batter, Noor promptly beats another as Rizwan pushes down the wrong line. That’s a fabulous over from an 18-year-old. And a strange innings from Shafique, who took charge early on and then went into his shell.
Not given, but Hashamtullah reviews and he’s spot on – it’s hitting leg stump. Noor Ahmad has his first international wicket!
22nd over: Pakistan 109-1 (Abdullah Shafique 58, Babar Azam 32) Hashmatullah takes Noor off and brings back Mujeeb, who was not at his best with the new ball. He draws an edge right away, as Shafique tries a tentative prod, but it runs away for four. That brings up a fifty partnership that has been less impressive than it sounds (51 off 67 balls, now 53 off 71).
21st over: Pakistan 103-1 (Abdullah Shafique 53, Babar Azam 31) Another tight over from Rashid, three dots and three singles. He and Nabi have bowled nine overs between them for just 23 – but they haven’t taken a wicket. The boring middle overs are back in business.
20th over: Pakistan 100-1 (Abdullah Shafique 51, Babar Azam 30) Noor Ahmad continues and his second over is a mixed bag: a long hop, spanked away for four by Babar; a wide down the leg side; and a full-length flighted delivery that deceives Shafique through the air and draws an inside edge. It deserves better than to trickle away for a single and bring up the Pakistan hundred.
19th over: Pakistan 93-1 (Abdullah Shafique 50, Babar Azam 25) Rashid Khan strays onto Shafique’s pads, allowing him to glance for two and reach fifty off 60 balls. He’s having a very consistent World Cup but he’s been a mixed blessing here, slowing down after a strong start.
18th over: Pakistan 90-1 (Abdullah Shafique 48, Babar Azam 24) After the disgrace of conceding four runs from one over, Nabi is taken off. On comes Noor Ahmad, Afghanistan’s new boy, who is so young that he was born in 2005 – and experienced enough to have played in both the Pakistan Super League and the IPL. He bowls left-arm wrist-spin with a whirl of the arms, and his first over in international cricket goes for five singles.
17th over: Pakistan 85-1 (Abdullah Shafique 46, Babar Azam 21) Rashid is warming to the task. On a surface that looks fast asleep when anyone else is bowling, he’s making the ball fizz and pop. He gets just enough turn with his leg-break to beat Shafique outside off. And that’s drinks, with Pakistan getting on top and then being pegged back by the breakthrough from Azmat, the thrift of Mohammad Nabi and the skill of Rashid Khan.
16th over: Pakistan 82-1 (Abdullah Shafique 45, Babar Azam 19) Hold the back page: an over from Nabi has gone for four! But it’s four singles. He has now bowled five overs and not one ball has gone for more than one run. Any chance Afghanistan can lend him to England?
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15th over: Pakistan 78-1 (Abdullah Shafique 43, Babar Azam 17) Here is Rashid, the first superstar of Afghan cricket. And right away Babar is rattled – trying to heave a pull away, not getting hold of it, almost giving a catch to deep mid-on. Hashmatullah, seeing this, brings in a slip. Again, just the three singles off the over.,
14th over: Pakistan 75-1 (Abdullah Shafique 41, Babar Azam 16) Pakistan need to do something about Nabi, Afghanistan’s Mr Thrift. They show some intent with a single off each of the first three balls, then it’s back to dots as Babar is suddenly circumspect. Nabi figures latest: 4-0-7-0.
13th over: Pakistan 72-1 (Abdullah Shafique 39, Babar Azam 15) The commentators are wondering why Rashid Khan hasn’t come on to bowl at Babar, who struggles against him. Instead Azmat continues and Babar cashes in, pulling for two, easing through the covers for another two, then pulling for four more. He’s raced to 15 off 12 balls.
12th over: Pakistan 64-1 (Abdullah Shafique 39, Babar Azam 7) The pitch isn’t doing much, even for the spinners, but Nabi is keeping the batters quiet with his change of pace – from slow to very, very slow. He now has the peculiar figures of 3-0-4-0.
11th over: Pakistan 63-1 (Abdullah Shafique 39, Babar Azam 6) Here comes Babar Azam, who rather needs to show that form is temporary, class is permanent. His first shot bodes well: he gets a length ball from Azmat and strokes it on the up, through the covers, for four.
Catching practice! Imam, seldom happy against the short ball, pulls straight to midwicket.
10th over: Pakistan 56-0 (Abdullah Shafique 38, Imam-ul-Haq 17) Yes, Nabi was changing ends, so he replaces Mujeeb, who goes off with a disappointing 4-0-29-0. Nabi is thrifty again, just the two singles, but the Powerplay belongs to Pakistan, not least because they have discovered how to hit a six.
9th over: Pakistan 54-0 (Abdullah Shafique 37, Imam-ul-Haq 16) After bowling the best over for some time, Nabi is taken off – perhaps to change ends. On comes Azmatullah Omarzai, the closest thing to a second seamer in this Afghanistan team, and he manages to keep Shafique quiet.
8th over: Pakistan 51-0 (Abdullah Shafique 35, Imam-ul-Haq 15) Mujeeb continues and it doesn’t go well. Shafique dances down to loft him for a straight six – yes really, another one – and then hits a cover drive with a hint of savagery.
7th over: Pakistan 39-0 (Abdullah Shafique 24, Imam-ul-Haq 14) Naveen goes off after conceding 21 from three overs. On comes Mohammad Nabi, so it’s off-spin from both ends. He has one job – to put the plug in – and he manages it, conceding just a single.
6th over: Pakistan 38-0 (Abdullah Shafique 24, Imam-ul-Haq 13) Sixes are often worth more than six, because of the good vibes they generate. Imam joins in the fun now, cutting Mujeeb for four, and then Shafique sweeps for four. That’s 12 off the over, 23 off the last 11 balls, and Pakistan are in the driving seat.
5th over: Pakistan 26-0 (Abdullah Shafique 19, Imam-ul-Haq 6) Hang on! Shafique has broken the shackles! After clipping a slower ball from Naveen for four, he rocks back and hooks the next one for six. That is surely against Pakistan’s team policy.
Naveen bounces back with a better bouncer that bothers Imam.
4th over: Pakistan 15-0 (Abdullah Shafique 8, Imam-ul-Haq 6) Mujeeb continues and Pakistan, whose batting is old-school at the best of times, make no effort to attack him.
3rd over: Pakistan 13-0 (Abdullah Shafique 7, Imam-ul-Haq 5) Abdullah, facing Naveen, again flirts with danger. Looking for a chip over midwicket, he gets a leading edge that drops just short of mid-off. Then he pulls himself together and plays the shot he may have been trying in the first over – a lofted square drive for four.
In mid-over we get a close look at the pitch, which is a toasted flatbread. Just add hummus.
2nd over: Pakistan 8-0 (Abdullah Shafique 3, Imam-ul-Haq 5) At the other end it’s spin, naturally: Mujeeb Ur Rahman with the off-breaks that were too hot for England. He starts tidily, going for just three singles – but may have missed the chance of a run-out by misfielding off his own bowling.
1st over: Pakistan 5-0 (Abdullah Shafique 1, Imam-ul-Haq 4) Naveen-ul-Haq, the last seamer standing in this Afghan side, takes the new ball and almost grabs an early wicket. Abdullah Shafique plays an uppish nothing shot, rather too close to the man at backward point, but gets a single for it. Imam, calmer, tucks off his legs for the first four of the day.
The anthems are being sung with both teams giving it some welly. What a shame it is that they have only ever met on neutral ground.
A quite different approach from Afghanistan: they’ve picked a fourth spinner! It’s Noor Ahmad, who is (a) a left-arm wristie and (b) only 18. In a more abstract sense, though, their strategy is the same as Pakistan’s – play to your strengths.
Afghanistan 1 Rahmanullah Gurbaz, 2 Ibrahim Zadran, 3 Rahmat Shah, 4 Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt), 5 Azmatullah Omarzai, 6 Ikram Alikhil (wk), 7 Mohammad Nabi, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Mujeeb Ur Rahman, 10 Naveen-ul-Haq, 11 Noor Ahmad.
Just the one change. Mohammad Nawaz, who is unwell, gives way to Shadab Khan. Same balance, so even though it’s a bare, turning pitch, Babar Azam keeps faith with pace.
Pakistan 1 Abdullah Shafique, 2 Imam-ul-Haq, 3 Babar Azam (capt), 4 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 5 Saud Shakeel, 6 Iftikhar Ahmed, 7 Mohammad Nawaz, 8 Usama Mir, 9 Shaheen Shah Afridi, 10 Hasan Ali, 11 Haris Rauf.
Babar Azam wins the toss and opts to have a bat.
Morning everyone and welcome to the World Cup’s latest local derby. It’s Pakistan v Afghanistan, for the first time ever in India.
Afghanistan have only played Pakistan in seven one-day internationals and have lost the lot. But they know they can beat their neighbours and seniors because they’ve done it in T20s, where the score is a very respectable 3-4.
Even in ODIs, the Afghans are getting closer: two months ago, at Hambantota in Sri Lanka, their rising star Rahmanullah Gurbaz led them to 300-5, their first total of 260+ against Pakistan, and although they ended up losing as usual it was only. If they hadn’t bowled 24 wides, they would have waltzed home.
Pakistan could really do with a win today after losing their last two games to India and Australia. But Afghanistan have an extra incentive to win, not that they need one. If they manage it, they’ll storm up the table from tenth to sixth, and England will sink to the bottom.