Pakistan completed a commanding 3-0 series sweep against Afghanistan in their one-day international series, sealing the victory with a convincing 59-run win in the final match at R. Premadasa Stadium on Saturday. This triumph propelled Pakistan to the coveted No. 1 world ranking in ODIs, displacing Australia from the top spot. Chasing a target of 269, Afghanistan faced an uphill battle throughout. Pakistan’s fast bowlers capitalized on the variable pitch with pace and bounce, creating troubles for the opposition’s batsmen. Additionally, the spinners added to Afghanistan’s woes by consistently breaking through their defenses and thwarting any attempts at a successful chase, as the side was bowled out on 209.
The series between both sides served as a crucial stepping stone for both teams in their preparations for the upcoming Asia Cup, scheduled to commence on August 30. While Pakistan emerged victorious in all the matches of the series, however, former Pakistani wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal expressed his dissatisfaction with the team’s batting performances throughout.
Kamran highlighted the team’s inability to surpass the 300-run mark while batting first as an area of concern. He pointed out that the second ODI witnessed a nail-biting run-chase, where Pakistan narrowly secured a one-wicket win, revealing that the team’s batting effort in the matches left room for improvement.
“In modern-day cricket, every batsman has to play positive. If we can’t score 300 against this team, can we do that when we face India in the Asia Cup? It becomes pretty difficult. It was a good practice opportunity for Pakistan team, we got a chance in two games to bat first and put on a big score. The batters should’ve shown more responsibility,” Kamran said on his official YouTube channel.
“Yes, you scored 300 in the second game. But batters should’ve finished the game. It was a lower-order who finished the run-chase for you. It’s not a good sign for Pakistan team.”
Asia Cup begins August 30
Pakistan will return to ODI action in the coveted continental tournament where they face Nepal in the opener. The Babar Azam-led side is grouped with arch-rivals India, and face Rohit Sharma’s men on September 2 in Kandy. Afghanistan, meanwhile, are placed in the ‘group of death’ – similar to the one in the previous T20 edition – as they face Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The Asia Cup serves as a key opportunity for the teams to be in shape for the ODI World Cup in India in October-November. Barring Nepal, all five other sides will participate in the marquee global tournament which opens October 5.