World Cup 2019: Afridi, Imad shine as Pakistan edges Afghanistan in a thriller

Pakistan vs Afghanistan LIVE Score, World Cup 2019: Catch live score and updates from the World Cup 2019 match between Pakistan and Afghanistan at Leeds on Saturday.

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Shaheen Afridi finished with a four-wicket haul.   -  AP Photo

What a night of cricket we've had. Afghanistan were in it till the 45th over, and then skipper Gulbadin Naib bowled that fateful over which went for 18 and turned the tide in Pakistan's favour. Kudos to Imad Wasim, whose unbeaten 49 off 54 balls, and Wahab Riaz, whose 9-ball 15, ultimately pushed Pakistan over the line in a nerve-wreaking contest.  Pakistan was phenomenal with the ball, with Shaheen Afridi picking four wickets. He was ably supported by Wahab, who snared two.

With this win, Pakistan has now broken into the top four for the first time in this edition of the tournament. Sarfaraz and Co. have made life a whole lot more difficult for England, which takes on unbeaten India at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

Imad Wasim: "When I went, Rashid was bowling brilliantly. Couldn't pick him to be honest. Just hung in there. I decided to play fifty overs. He (Naib) was the only bowler who could've been targeted. Wicket was turning square. They've got world class spinners. Plan was to attack when fast bowler comes in. Now we believe we can win from anywhere."

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Naib to bowl the final over. Single off the first ball. Five off five. Wahab on strike. Another single. Four off four. Two from three now ... Afghanistan's fielding has been really poor. Imad finishes it off in style - a boundary to take Pakistan over the line in what has been a sensational contest between two subcontinent sides.

Rashid to bowl the penultimate over. Starts with a dot. SIX! Wahab Riaz has gone down on one knee and launched this over deep mid-wicket for six. Follows it up with a brace.  Two singles to end the over. 10 from the over. Pakistan needs six off six to win.

Mujeeb to bowl out. 18 off 18. Can he hold his nerves? Excellent spell from the youngster. Just two off his last over. Mujeeb today: 10-1-34-2. Pakistan needs 16 off the last two overs.

Rashid to roll his arm. Very, very crucial over. Now Shadab Khan gets an outside edge that races away to the fence. Lady luck with Pakistan? Or is she? Shadab has been run out. More twists, more twists. Wahab Riaz comes to the crease. He's batting with a broken finger. Wahab ends the over with a boundary. 10 off the over. PAK 210/7 after 47 overs.

Naib back into the attack. Imad has thrashed a full toss for four. Nothing delivery from the Afghan skipper.  Next ball, he goes for a big swing does Imad and a mishit but Asghar Afghan doesn't go for the catch. Eight runs off the first three balls. FOUR more. Is this the over that turns the tide in Pakistan's favour? Four more.  Now a wide. 18 runs off the over. PAK 200/6 after 46 overs.

Rashid and Mujeeb bowling in tandem. Good thing for Pakistan they can do it in ones and twos with the odd big hit. Bad news? Rashid still has two overs left. Mujeeb to bowl out as we speak. No, he has been held back. Shinwari back into the attack. Pakistan needs 48 in 6 overs. Excellent from Shinwari - only two from it. PAK 182/6 after 45 overs.

Naib back into the attack. Imad Wasim drills one down the ground for a much-needed boundary. Naib errs by bowling a full toss. Single to end the over. PAK 169/6 after 42 overs.

Mujeeb back into the attack. Brilliant from the youngster - only one off it. Pakistan need 71 in 60 balls. Rashid continues.  Shinwari back into the attack. Four runs from the over. PAK 161/6 after 41 overs.

Rashid into his seventh over. Imad looks clueless against the leg-spin of Rashid. Three dots... Make that four. Pressure, pressure. A single off the fifth ball. GONE! Sarfaraz has been run-out and Afghanistan are in the driver's seat now. PAK 156/6 after 39 overs.

Afghanistan are fighting back. Rashid bowls an exceptional sixth over when he could've quite easily had Imad Wasim's wicket a couple of times. However, Naib from the other end goes for eight with Sarfaraz hitting Pakistan's first boundary in 10 overs. PAK 154/5 after 38 overs. Pakistan needs 74 runs in 72 balls.

Rashid comes to the party, at last. Traps Sohail in front and Pakistan are fumbling and how! Imad Wasim comes to the crease. Two runs from the over. Nabi to bowl out. His figures today: 10-0-23-2. PAK 144/5 after 36 overs.

Nabi back into the attack. Another fine over - only three from it. Shinwari continues. Three from the 33rd as well. PAK 135/4 after 33 overs.

Dropped. Shinwari has dropped a straightforward caught and bowled chance of Sarfaraz. Five runs from the over - could've been a wicket but not to be. PAK 129/4 after 31 overs.

MUJEEB! The golden arm strikes, again. Hafeez holes out to the short third-man fielder and just when it looked like Pakistan was getting into the groove, Afghanistan have struck with a bowling change.  Sarfaraz Ahmed joins Sohail. Successful over: only three and a wicket. PAK 124/4 after 30 overs.

SHOT! Sohail has scythed that one through deep extra cover for four. They're targetting Shinwari. Five off the 27th. Naib bowling his sixth over concedes a boundary to Sohail.The duo's getting a move on. Huge appeal for caught behind against Sohail, but not given. No reviews left either. PAK 118/3 after 28 overs.

Hafeez takes Pakistan past 100 with a muscular hit to deep mid-wicket for four. Seven runs from the over. Gulbadin Naib returns into the attack. Five runs off his over on his return. PAK 108/3 after 26 overs.

Samiullah Shinwari, right-arm leg break, comes into the attack. Good over : just three singles from it. Pakistan trudging toward the 100-run mark. Nabi to bowl his seventh. Afghanistan have realised that Nabi's their best chance at having a crack at the Pakistan batsmen. Ripper. Gets it to straighten after pitching; misses Sohail's edge by a whisker. PAK 96/3 after 24 overs.

Very good bowling from the spinners, Rashid and Nabi. Giving nothing away. Both Hafeez and Sohail have to start from scratch. The target isn't big but another wicket here will make things interesting. Three and one run from the 21st and 22nd respectively. PAK 91/3 after 22 overs.

Nabi into his fifth over. How good has Nabi been with the ball this World Cup, especially against the Asian teams India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh? Meanwhile, no reason for Pakistan to press the panic button yet. PAK 87/3 after 20 overs. Nabi so far: 5-0-11-2

Rashid to continue. The fielding from Afghanistan has been really pedestrian... another fumble allows Hafeez an easy single. Loud appeal for lbw against Sohail off the last ball. The fielders look pretty convinced but the umpire isn't. Afghanistan doesn't have any more reviews left. PAK 84/3 after 19 overs.

GONE! Nabi, you beauty. Cleans up Babar Azam now and Pakistan have lost both their set batsmen. Drinks on the field now. Haris Sohai comes to the crease. He gets off the mark with a single. Excellent over. Just a one run and a big wicket. PAK 82/3 after 18 overs.

Hafeez has joined Babar. Rashid to continue. Babar keeps taking those ones and twos at the other end. A couple of braces is followed by a boundary.  And a single to finish the over. PAK 81/2 after 17 overs.

Imam-ul-Haq has been stumped. Big wicket for Afghanistan and it's that man, Nabi, with the breakthrough. There was no need for that: Imam pays the price for being too adventurous. One run and a wicket. PAK 72/2 after 16 overs.

Rashid Khan comes into the attack. Babar greets him with a couple before pulling one away for four with disdain. Rashid guilty of delivering a long hop on that occasion. Seven runs from the over. PAK 71/1 after 15 overs. Pakistan needs 157 runs.

Nabi to continue. In the meantime, Naib is off the field to treat his finger. Ripper to end the over - what a ball from the experienced spinner. The keeper went up for a stifled caught-behind appeal. This one straightens past Imam's edge. PAK 64/1 after 14 overs.

Naib back into the attack. Change of ends for the Afghan skipper. He has a slip fielder in place for Imam, trying to angle the ball away from the left-hander. Well run, Imam. Gets another couple. Afghanistan need to plug these ones and twos. A misfield in the deep now allows the batsmen to steal another couple. PAK 60/1 after 13 overs.

Mohammad Nabi into the attack. He's got a slip in place. The match is running away from Afghanistan real fast. Whoa. That could've been tight. A better throw could've caught Babar short of the crease. But no harm done. Well bowled by Nabi. PAK 54/1 after 12 overs.

Imam putting pressure on the fielders, pushes for a second and makes it home with ease. Four coming off that Naib over. Start of the second Powerplay. Mujeeb continuing. Imam guides Pakistan past 50 with a brace. Four dots to end the over. PAK 52/1 after 11 overs.

Mujeeb into his fifth. Babar gives him the charge first ball, and takes a single to long-on. The two batsmen haven't been pegged back by the early wicket.  Three runs from the over. Nine gone, PAK 45/1.

Naib continues. A fumble in the deep allows Imam to hare back for a quick double. Edged and races away to third-man for four more. Runs coming thick and fast for Imam and Pakistan. Make that two boundaries in as many balls. PAK 42/1 after 8 overs.

A loud appeal for lbw against Babar given not out. Afghanistan reviews. Replays show that the impact's outside off, and the batsman survives. A maiden over from Mujeeb. PAK 32/1 after 7 overs.

Mujeeb to continue. Four singles from the over. The two have already added 30 off 28 balls. Gulbadin Naib into the attack. Good over that from the skipper - only two off it. PAK 32/1 after 6 overs.

Outside edge races away to third-man for four. Babar Azam collects yet another boundary off Hassan. SHOT! He's in some form, is Babar and what a time to get yourself going. This one's whipped through deep mid-wicket for four more. PAK 26/1 after 4 overs.

Mujeeb continues. Another boundary for Imam; this time he tickles it to fine-leg. Slip in place for the offie. Just a single to end the over. PAK 17/1 after 3 overs.

Hamid Hassan to share the new ball. This is his farewell game for Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Imam-ul-Haq has pulled one away for four. Good comeback - just a boundary off it. PAK 10/1 after 2 overs.

Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq to begin the run chase. Mujeeb with the new ball.  A slip in place. GONE! Mujeeb strikes and Fakhar has been given out lbw. He reviews but replays show three reds.  Babar Azam comes to the crease. Babar off the mark with a cracking cover-drive. PAK 6/1 after 1 over.

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Six runs off the final over, and Pakistan will be the happier of the two sides at the halfway stage. It has managed to restrict Afghanistan to 227/9 thanks to Shaheen Afridi whose four-wicket haul coupled with Wahab Riaz's brace were the highlights. For Afghanistan, Asghar Afghan and Najibullah Zadran starred with the bat. Pakistan needs 228 to stay alive.

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GONE! Shaheen bags his third, Rashid holes out and Afghanistan slips further. Hamid Hassan at the crease. GONE! Wahab gets his man, pacy yorker and there's nothing Hamid can do about it.

Helicopter shot from Rashid? He has a big smile on his face; he enjoyed it - that's for sure. That was pummelled to deep mid-wicket for four. Amir goes for five in that over. AFG 208/7 after 46 overs.

What.A.Shot. Najibullah's playing a little gem here. He steers Afghanistan past 200 with a boundary off Shaheen but perishes the very next ball; inside edge clatters into the stumps. Rashid Khan comes to the crease. AFG 203/7 after 45 overs.

Shaheen and Shadab bowling from either end. Only eight runs from three overs, with Shaheen dropping a tough chance of Shinwari off his own bowling. AFG 192/6 after 43 overs.

Shadab back into the attack. Three runs from the over including a wide. A dot to finish the 40th. 10 more overs to go in the innings. Shaheen is back for another crack. Nearly a maiden but for a misfield off the last ball. Single given. AFG 185/6 after 41 overs.

Imad and Wahab bowling in tandem at the moment. Meanwhile Zadran is playing a lovely little cameo here. He has already hit five fours, ensuring that Afghanistan doesn't combust before 50 overs. AFG 181/6 after 39 overs.

There's the breakthrough and it's Wahab Riaz who snaps up Nabi with a short ball. The right-hander goes for a pull shot, gets a top edge that settles comfortably in the hands of Amir. Samiullah Shinwari, comes to the crease. AFG 169/6 after 37 overs.

The Afghan batsmen growing in confidence now: Zadran brings out the reverse sweep against Imad and earns four runs. Five runs off the 36th. AFG 164/5 after 36 overs.

SHOT! Najibullah brings up the Afghanistan 150 with a wristy flick past the maid-wicket fielder for four. Seven from that Amir over. Wahab Riaz comes into the attack. Seven off that over. AFG 159/5 after 35 overs.

Afridi and Amir in tandem at the moment. Afghanistan have collected only 19 off the last five overs, but more importantly they haven't lost a wicket. AFG 145/5 after 33 overs. It's drinks.

Mohammad Amir is back into the attack. He begins by conceding a single to backward-point. Four off his over on his return. Five length deliveries followed by a pitched up ball. AFG 134/5 after 30 overs.

Najibullah Zadran joins Nabi. Tight over from Shadab. Only one coming off it. Shaheen Afridi returns into the attack. Straightaway troubles Nabi with a probing length. Two runs and two wides off the over. AFG 130/5 after 29 overs.

GONE. Ali Khil follows suit. The southpaw's vigil comes to an end, holes out to the fielder at long-on and Imad Wasim bags his second wicket. AFG 125/5 after 27 overs.

Imad continues. Three singles from the 25th. GONE! Shadab breaks the nagging stand, and Asghar Afghan has been cleaned up trying to go for the big hit. Nabi comes to the crease. Slip, leg-slip and silly-point for the Afghan offie. Loud appeal for lbw against Khil. Pakistan review. Replays retain umpire's call. AFG 122/4 after 26 overs.

Imad back into the attack. Only three singles coming from the over - not to forget the fifth delivery that turned square from a length. Shadab continues from the other end. More fielders around the bat, slip and silly point for Asghar Afghan. AFG 117/3 after 24 overs.

Shadab to bowl his fourth. What both batsmen have done well here is they've managed to milk the ones and twos and with Asghar Afghan slamming the odd big hit, Afghanistan will be pleased with the progress. AFG 111/3 after 22 overs.

Wahab to continue. He is targeting Ali Khil with the short delivery. The youngster is happy to duck. He's probably tempting Ali Khil to go for the pull but the batsman is having none of it, yet. AFG 107/3 after 21 overs. The partnership is now 50 between Asghar Afghan and Ali Khil.

Good over from Shadab. Appreciable turn and bounce. Pakistan continue to employ a slip for both batters. In fact, there was a leg-slip in place for Ali Khil. Three singles from that over. AFG 104/3 after 20 overs.

100 comes up for Afghanistan with a cracking cut shot from Afghan. He has raced to 32 now. A dot from Wahab to end that over. Five off it. The partnership between the two batsmen is now 44. AFG 101/3 after 19 overs.

Meanwhile, Shayan Acharya pings from Headingley: "There seems to be some tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan fans... Some of them got into confrontation and the security guys had to take control of the situation."

SIX! Asghar Afghan is not holding back; smart use of the feet and Asghar clobbers it over deep mid-wicket for six. This to follow up the second-ball four. 13 from that Shadab over. AFG 96/3 after 18 overs.

Wahab Riaz continues. Three dots ... He's clocking good pace. Just one off the over. Afghanistan have maintained a decent run-rate but the loss of wickets at regular intervals has clearly thwarted the side's momentum. Meanwhile, Sarfaraz is shuffling his bowlers. AFG 83/3 after 17 overs. That would be drinks.

Leg-spinner Shadab Khan to roll his arm. Asghar Afghan gets a boundary to third-man. Slip in place for the left-hander.  Four dots and a tidy start from Shadab. Only five from the over. AFG 82/3 after 16 overs.

Wahab Riaz into the attack. Starts with a wide, does Wahab. Another wide... Edged and it'll run away for four to third-man: Ali Khil will take that. Six from the over. AFG 77/3 after 15 overs.

Asghar Afghan at the crease. Hafeez continues. Slip in place for Khil. A couple of braces and a single to end the over.  Imad into his fifth. Two slips for the young left-hander. Pakistan on the prowl here. SHOT! First six of the match, and quick use of feet from Asghar Afghan who launches it over deep mid-wicket. AFG 71/3 after 14 overs.

Imad continues. Cheeky shot from Rahmat: gets four for it. That's his fifth boundary of the innings. Imad has his revenge next ball, gets Rahmat out caught! Six runs and a wicket from the over. AFG 57/3 after 12 overs.

Mohammad Hafeez has been brought into the attack. Khil opens his account after 11 deliveries. He takes Afghanistan to 50 with a single. Five runs from that over. AFG 51/2 after 11 overs.

Imad Wasim back into the attack. Rahmat takes a single after two dots including a stifled appeal for a lbw. The ball was clearly sliding down leg-side. A slip in place for Khil who's yet to get off the mark. End of the first Powerplay. AFG 46/2 after 10 overs.

Amir into his fourth. Good over from the left-armer. Mixing it up: full and short. Just one run from the over. Shaheen to bowl his third. Two dots followed by a boundary. Five off the over. AFG 45/2 after 9 overs.

Two left-arm seamers in tandem. Shaheen continues. One slip in place for him. SHOT! A glorious straight-drive from Rahmat Shah. Rahmat's looking good out there: key is to not get carried away. Seven from the over. AFG 39/2 after 7 overs.

Amir to continue. Two slips in place. He's getting the ball to shape away from the left-hander Ali Khil. GONE! Now Amir joins the wickets column, traps Ali Khil in front. But the batsman reviews. Rightly so. Huge inside edge, and the batsman survives. AFG 32/2 after 6 overs.

Shaheen Afridi into the attack. Width on offer first up, and Gulbadin slaps this one through the covers for four. Shaheen takes an unnecessary shy at the stumps next ball: concedes two overthrows. Lot of space again, and same result: Gulbadin lifts it over extra-cover for four more. 

OUT? Pakistan think they've got their man but umpire says not-out. They review. Gulbadin the batsman in question. Replays show a feather touch. Shaheen gets the breakthrough. Another one bites the dust and Shaheen is on a hat-trick. Shahidi is out first ball. Ikram Ali Khil survives the hat-trick ball, tickles it down fine-leg for four. AFG 31/2 after 5 overs.

Brilliant. Rahmat now gets into the act - overpitched delivery from Amir and Rahmat carves it through extra cover for his first boundary of the match. Good comeback from the left-arm seamer: two back-to-back dots. Rahmat strikes back - pulls one to deep square-leg for four more. Eight from it. AFG 17/0 after 4 overs.

Imad to continue. SHOT! Naib puts the last ball away for four - his first of the match. A stylish hit to long-off and Afghanistan collects four from the 3rd over. AFG 9/0 after 3 overs.

Mohammad Amir from the other end. Starts with an inswinging yorker. Amir is the second highest wicket-taker this World Cup (16) after Starc (19). A maiden to get his spell underway. AFG 5/0 after 2 overs.

Gulbadin and Rahmat begin proceedings for Afghanistan. Imad Wasim with the new ball. Rahmat gets off the mark with a single. Naib clips one through mid-wicket for a single. Nice over for Afghanistan. AFG 5/0 after 1 over.

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TOSS UPDATE| Afghanistan has won the toss and elected to bat.

Afghanistan (Playing XI): Gulbadin Naib(c), Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shinwari, Najibullah Zadran, Ikram Ali Khil(w), Rashid Khan, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Pakistan (Playing XI): Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Sarfaraz Ahmed(w/c), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Afridi

Naib: "We are going to bat first, the wicket looks good. It's a sunny day and weather is warm. Pakistan is a good side but we beat them in the warm-up game. We'll try to give our 100 per cent today. We are looking forward to putting on a good show."

Sarfaraz Ahmed: "We wanted to bat first as well but the toss is not in our hands. We'll now try to chase the target. We are focusing on this match, not focusing on the next game. Wahab is fine, he's playing today, hence we are playing with the same team."

PITCH REPORT| "It looks like a good surface. There's not much grass on it. It'll play slow and get better as the match progresses. There'll be some turn on offer for the spinners," reckons Pommy Mbangwa.

WEATHER WATCH| "Hot with sunny spells on Saturday, after any early cloud clears. Sunshine turning hazier during the day, with a small chance of an isolated thundery shower later in the evening. Maximum temperature 31 °C," according to the British Met department. So, good day for cricket!

How can Pakistan go through?

The eerie similarity between this edition and the 1992 title run notwithstanding, Pakistan needs to win both its remaining matches against Afghanistan and Bangladesh by healthy margins, and then hope that England does not win more than one of its remaining two matches. The host side takes on India next in Birmingham on June 30.

Pakistan's trajectory through the tournament has so far mirrored that of its only World Cup triumph to date, when it started slowly in 1992 before picking up pace to lift the trophy| Waqar says 1992 World Cup parallels are ‘freaky’

Babar's 10th one-day international century at Edgbaston against New Zealand -- his eighth in a winning cause -- has led to comparisons with Indian maestro Virat Kohli| Babar Azam eyes summit of world batting

Pakistan will depend on its star performers — Mohammad Amir and Babar Azam — to deliver a telling blow against an Afghan side that is yet to taste success in England and Wales.

 

Match Preview by Shayan Acharya:

Pakistan, always unpredictable, has bounced back from an insipid start to the World Cup to inflict blows on South Africa and New Zealand to keep its semifinal hopes alive. The Sarfaraz Ahmed-led side will look to extend its winning streak when it takes on Afghanistan at Headingley on Saturday.

Pakistan will depend on its star performers — Mohammad Amir and Babar Azam — to deliver a telling blow against an Afghan side that is yet to taste success in England and Wales.

Amir has bowled consistently, bagging 16 wickets, while Babar has peaked at the right time, scoring an unbeaten ton against New Zealand and 69 against South Africa.

Points Table

The move to restore Harris Sohail in place of an off-colour Shoaib Malik has bolstered the team’s batting department, and it has also found an able support for Amir in young left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi. The youngster terrorised the Kiwi top-order with his stinging pace and sharp movement, taking us back to a time when Pakistani pacers were a terror to every opposition batsman.

READ| Babar Azam amassing runs at a faster clip than idol Virat Kohli

Afghanistan, still in search of its first win in this tournament, has struggled with its batting even as the bowlers put up strong displays against India and Bangladesh. The team, however, can draw confidence from its win over Pakistan in a warm-up game.

Pakistan, aware of Afghanistan’s talents, refuses to be complacent and batsman Sohail said: “We have kept it very simple. We are going from match to match. They (Afghanistan) have quality spinners and we have seen a lot of videos and we've worked from them.”

With a spirited Pakistan threatening again, the cricket fans are hoping Sarfaraz and his men can tread on the footsteps of Imran Khan’s 1992 World Cup-winning side, which, too, had bounced back from a similar poor start to the tournament.

The teams (from)

Pakistan (From): Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Sarfaraz Ahmed(w/c), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Afridi, Asif Ali, Shoaib Malik, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Hasnain

Afghanistan (From): Gulbadin Naib(c), Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shinwari, Najibullah Zadran, Ikram Ali Khil(w), Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Hamid Hassan, Sayed Shirzad

Match starts at 3 p.m.

The match will be streamed live on Hotstar.

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live coverage of the World Cup 2019 match between Pakistan and Afghanistan at Leeds on Saturday.