Afghanistan today became the first overseas team to play in Pakistan in two years, but it was not to be a winning visit as they went down to a Pakistan A side by 5 wickets after a batting performance in which only two players made a useful contribution.
Before the match even started Afghanistan suffered a blow when star bowler Hamid Hassan was ruled out due to illness.
Nawroz Mangal won the toss and chose to bat first, and the visitors soon found themselves in trouble on 22-4. A brief innings of 11 from 9 balls from Gulbodin Naib, sharing in a 20 run partnership for the fifth wicket took them to 42-5, which brought Mohammad Nabi to the crease.
Nabi and Mangal were to make the only two decent contributions to the Afghanistan innings, putting on 29 before the skipper was out for 33. Nabi then shepherded the tail, dominating the highest partnership of the innings - 58 for the ninth wicket with Shapoor Zadran, who contributed just four - before he was dismissed for a well made 72 from 75 balls.
No further runs were added by the last wicket, and Afghanistan had scored 152, a far better score than their start suggested, but probably not enough against an experienced Pakistan A team. Mohammead Talha was the pick of the Pakistani bowlers with 3-29.
Whilst Afghanistan bowled well, they didn't have a big enough target to defend, and their attack lacked Hamid Hassan, probably the best pace bowler below Test level. Dawlat Zadran bowled well on debut to take 3-45, whilst Pakistan A cruised to their target in 39.5 overs to win by five wickets, Sharjeel Khan top scoring with 47.
Mohammad Nabi was named the man of the match, and had it not been for him, Afghanistan would have faced a rather embarrassing defeat. Whilst rustiness can be somewhat of an excuse - this is only the third match Afghanistan have played since the Intercontinental Cup final against Scotland - a much improved batting performance is needed in the final two matches of the series.
Pakistan A beat Afghanistan by 5 wickets
Diamond Club Ground, Islamabad, 25 May
Afghanistan 152 (37.3 overs, Mohammad Nabi 72, Mohammad Tala 3-29)
Pakistan A 154-5 (39.5 overs, Sharjeel Khan 47, Dawlat Zadran 3-45)