Akmal's ton floors spirited Afghanistan

Umar Akmal hits his first ODI century in over four years as Pakistan beat Afghanistan by 72 runs in the Asia Cup.

    Umar Akmal made Afghanistan pay for dropping him on 28 [Reuters]
    Umar Akmal made Afghanistan pay for dropping him on 28 [Reuters]

    Umar Akmal whacked his first One-Day International century in more than four years as he and Pakistan's spinners spoiled Afghanistan's maiden Asia Cup appearance with a clinical 72-run victory.

    Pakistan-Afghanistan scorecard

    Pakistan innings

    S Khan c Noor b Hotak 25
    A Shehzad b Shenwari 50
    M Hafeez c Nabi b Ashraf 10
    S Maqsood c Stanikzai b Shenwari 13
    M Haq run out 0
    U Akmal not out 102
    S Afridi b Zadran 6
    A Ali c Mangal b Ashraf 21
    U Gul b Zadran 15
    S Ajmal not out 1

    Extras (lb 2, w 2, nb 1) 5 
    Total (8 wickets; 50 overs) 248
    Fall of wickets 1-55, 2-78, 3-89, 4-89, 5-108, 6-117, 7-177, 8-217

    Afghanistan innings 

    M Shahzad c Akmal b Gul 9
    N Zadran lbw b Ajmal 44
    A Stanikzai c Hafeez b Afridi 40
    N Mangal run out 35
    M Nabi lbw b Gul 15 
    N Zadran b Hafeez 1
    S Shenwari b Hafeez 14
    M Ashraf run out 4
    D Zadran b Ajmal 0
    S Zadran c Ajmal b Hafeez 1
    H Hotak not out 0

    Extras (b 8, w 5) 13 
    Total (all out; 47.2 overs) 176
    Fall of wickets 1-32, 2-65, 3-139, 4-140, 5-151, 6-159, 7-172, 8-172, 9-175, 10-176

    Akmal's unbeaten 102 off 89 balls led Pakistan to 248-8, then Mohammad Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi shared six wickets to bowl out Afghanistan for 176 in 47.2 overs.

    Afghanistan had Pakistan on the ropes at 117-6 before Akmal took charge, notching seven fours and three sixes for his first century since an unbeaten 102 against Sri Lanka in 2009.

    Opening batsman Noor Ali Zadran top-scored for Afghanistan, hitting seven fours in his 44, but the batsmen struggled to read the variations of Hafeez (3-29) and Ajmal (2-25) and lost their last four wickets for only four runs.

    Asghar Stanikzai labored for 91 deliveries for his 40 before falling to Afridi as the spinners never allowed Afghanistan to score freely.

    "The bowlers put in a great effort, especially the three spinners,'' Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said. 

    Afghanistan, which has qualified for the World Twenty20 next month and the World Cup in 2015, exploited Pakistan's shaky top order after captain Mohammad Nabi won the toss and elected to bowl first. The opening pair of Ahmed Shehzad (50) and Sharjeel Khan (25) provided a decent start of 55 before the innings disintegrated mainly due to poor strokes.

    "The shot selection from the batsmen was disappointing,'' Misbah said. "They did not read the pitch very well and were playing like how it behaved in the first match. They were eyeing the kind of total in the first game, but this was turning and playing low as well.''

    Khan, Mohammad Hafeez (10), Sohaib Maqsood (13) and Afridi (six) all fell to reckless shots while Samiullah Shenwari clean-bowled Shehzad off a flatter delivery in his first over soon after the opener completed his 50.

    "When the ball was going in the air I was hoping it would get dropped and I would continue my innings,'' Akmal said after receiving his man of the match award. "When I was batting, the messages I was getting from the dressing room were to stay till the end. It's one of my best innings and hopefully, I will get more opportunities like this.''



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