Pak vs Afg: Babar Azam opts to bat in first ODI


Pakistan and Afghanistan captains photographed during the toss. — X/@TheRealPCB

Pakistan won the toss and put Afghanistan to bowl on Tuesday in the first one-day international (ODI) of the three-match series in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.

It is a home series for Afghanistan who cannot stage international cricket in their own country due to security concerns.

Earlier today, Afghanistan suffered a major setback ahead of the series after middle-order batter Najibullah Zadran was ruled out due to a knee injury. 

He is replaced by Shahidullah.

Zadran is a key player in the Afghanistan team, having played 88 ODI matches over the course of his career. He has an average of 30.04 and strike-rate of 89.42 in 50-over cricket with the help of a hundred and 15 fifties.

Meanwhile, Shahidullah has only played a solitary ODI which came against the Netherlands in January 2022 in Doha.

The series will give both teams a chance to prepare for the Asia Cup, which begins on August 30.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have locked horns in four ODIs in the past with the former winning all of them. The two sides last faced each other in the format in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.

Series Schedule

22 Aug – First ODI, Hambantota

24 Aug – Second ODI, Hambantota

26 Aug – Third ODI, Colombo

Squads

Pakistan: Imamul Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam(C), Mohammad Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Aga, Shadab Khan, Usama Mir, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf

Afghanistan XI: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zardan, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (C), Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rehman, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Abdul Rehman, Ikram Ali.



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