Afghanistan's first match in the Asia Cup has not been a successful one after they lost to Pakistan by 72 runs in Fatullah today. But without a century from Umar Akmal, Afghanistan could have been celebrating their first win over a full member.
Pakistan, who lost their first match of the tournament to Sri Lanka, batted first after Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi won the toss. Their opening pair of Sharjeel Khan and Ahmed Shehzad got the innings off to a steady start, putting on 55 before Khan was out in the 13th over.
Afghanistan's bowlers then began to restrict the scoring rate more. Mohammad Hafeez fell in the 20th over with the score on 78, whilst Ahmed Shehzad was eventually out with the score on 89 in the 23rd over having scored exactly 50.
The very next ball, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq was run out before he'd even faced a ball, and six overs later, Pakistan found themselves on 117-6, with Afghanistan sensing a famous victory.
But a fine innings from Umar Akmal got Pakistan back on the rails. He guided the tail home with a well paced unbeaten 102, scored from 89 balls, as Pakistan reached 248-8 from their 50 overs.
In reply, three Afghan batsmen managed to get a start, with Noor Ali Zadran, Asghar Stanikzai and Nawroz Mangal scoring 44, 40 and 35 respectively. But they were scoring too slowly, and wickets began to tumble towards the end of the innings.
Afghanistan were eventually bowled out for 176 to lose by 72 runs, Mohammad Hafeez the pick of the Pakistan bowlers with 3-29. Afghanistan were left wondering what might have been had they dismissed Umar Akmal early in his innings.
Afghanistan's next match in the tournament will be against Bangladesh on Saturday.
Pakistan beat Afghanistan by 72 runs
Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium, Fatullah, 27 February
Pakistan 248-8 (50 overs, Umar Akmal 102*, Ahmed Shehzad 50)
Afghanistan 176 (47.2 overs, Noor Ali Zadran 44, Asghar Stanikzai 40, Nawroz Mangal 35, Mohammad Hafeez 3-29)