Pakistan proved to be just too strong for Afghanistan, winning by six wickets in the first ever T20 international to be played between the two sides.
Afghanistan, the fast-rising associate nation, batted and bowled with bravery. But their total of 137 for eight from their 20 overs was too light, and they were unable to defend it.
Pakistan, asked to chase, managed to get to the target but took until the last ball of the innings to creep over the line.
Afghanistan began as if caught in the headlights. Sohail Tanvir bowled two successive maiden overs and removed opener Mohammad Shahzad. Reaching 7-2 from 25 deliveries, an embarrassing defeat looked on the cards.
But they dug themselves out of trouble, thanks to some powerful hitting from the likes of Najibullah Zadran (38 from 30 balls) and Mirwais Ashraf (28 not out from 22).
It left a sizeable task for their bowlers, and although they did not rip through Pakistan, they did make sure that scoring was problematic.
Ahmed Shehzad's 35 from 37 balls set the pace, keeping the target within range without ever taking full control.
With eight wickets in hand and Mohammad Hafeez well-set at the crease, they needed 15 more runs from the final two overs.
Hamid Hassan made a bright start to bowling the penultimate over only for his last two balls to cost six runs and leave Pakistan needing six from as many deliveries.
Dawlat Zadran went for five from five to leave it all on the final ball of the match.
But, the paceman plumped for a short ball—and it was too short. Well above head height for Shahid Afridi, it was no-balled by the umpire, and the game was over.
|Pakistan vs. Afghanistan (Only T20)|
|Mohammad Shahzad†||c †Umar Akmal b Sohail Tanvir||2||4|
|Nawroz Mangal||c Sohaib Maqsood b Zulfiqar Babar||1||10|
|Asghar Stanikzai||b Bilawal Bhatti||15||20|
|Najibullah Zadran||b Junaid Khan||38||30|
|Mohammad Nabi*||b Shahid Afridi||15||10|
|Samiullah Shenwari||c Ahmed Shehzad b Junaid Khan||16||10|
|Mirwais Ashraf||not out||28||22|
|Gulbadin Naib||b Sohail Tanvir||3||9|
|Dawlat Zadran||b Junaid Khan||0||1|
|Hamid Hassan||not out||4||4|
|Extras||(b 4, lb 9, w 2)||15|
|Total||(8 wickets; 20 overs)||137||(6.85 runs per over)|
|Ahmed Shehzad||c Gulbadin Naib b Samiullah Shenwari||35||37|
|Sharjeel Khan||c Samiullah Shenwari b Mohammad Nabi||18||16|
|Mohammad Hafeez*||not out||42||37|
|Umar Akmal†||b Dawlat Zadran||28||23|
|Sohaib Maqsood||run out (Nawroz Mangal)||5||4|
|Shahid Afridi||not out||1||3|
|Extras||(b 1, lb 2, w 5, nb 1)||9|
|Total||(4 wickets; 19.5 overs)||138||(6.95 runs per over)|