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Pakistan Off The Mark As Afghanistan Falter

Umar Akmal celebrates his century
Joy unconfined for Umar Akmal as he scores an unbeaten century against Afghanistan
©REUTERS / Action Images

Pakistan 248-8 (Umar Akmal 102no) beat
Afghanistan 176 (M Hafeez 3-29) by 72 runs
Asia Cup game three, Fatullah

Pakistan survived an early scare against tournament newcomers Afghanistan to win their Asia Cup clash in Fatullah by 72 runs and take their first victory of the competition.

They lost their opening match to Sri Lanka by 12 runs and were in trouble early on at 117 for six before Umar Akmal's unbeaten 102 steered them to 248 for eight.

Afghanistan made a good start to their run chase before falling away dramatically as Pakistan's spinners took six wickets between them to bowl the debutants out for 176 in reply.

At the halfway stage of Pakistan's innings, after they had lost the toss and been put in by Afghanistan, they had already lost the wickets of Sharjeel Khan (25), Ahmed Shehzad (50), Mohammad hafeez (10) and Misbah-ul-Haq, who was run out without facing a ball.

When Sohaib Maqsood was caught by Asghar Stanikzai off Samiullah Shenwari for 13 and Shahid Afridi was bowled by Dawlat Zadran for six, the reigning champions were in real trouble.

However, Akmal rescued them by hitting 102 not out in 89 balls with seven fours and three sixes. Partnerships of 60 with Anwar Ali (21) and 40 with Umar Gul (15) ensured Pakistan had a defendable score on the board.

For Afghanistan, Zadran, Samiullah Shenwari and Mirwais Ashraf all took two wickets.

Gul then struck to remove Mohammad Shehzad for nine but Afghanistan were in a hurry early on against Pakistan's quick bowlers.

Once the spinners came on however struggled. Although Noor Ali Zadran (44), Stanikzai (40) and Nawroz Mangal (35) all scored useful runs, they used up 211 balls combined.

Ajmal trapped Noor in front, Stanikzai was caught by Hafeez off Afridi and Mangal was run out.

After Mohammad Nabi as out lbw to Gul, Hafeez bowled Najibullah Zadran for one and Shenwari for 14 as Afghanistan's challenge rapidly disintegrated.

Mirwais (4), Dawlat (0) and Shapoor Zadran (1) fell in quick succession as Afghanistan lost their last seven wickets for 36 runs in 60 balls to be all out in 47.2 overs.

Afghanistan play hosts Bangladesh on Saturday in a game between the two sides that have lost their only game so far while Sunday sees arch-rivals India and Pakistan clash.

India play Sri Lanka in tomorrow's fixture.

© Cricket World 2014

Fixtures & Results
25th February: Pakistan v Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka 296-6 (Thirimanne 102) beat
Pakistan 284 (Malinga 5-52) by 12 runs
26th February: Bangladesh v India

India 280-4 (Kohli 136, Rahane 73) beat
Bangladesh 279-7 (M Rahim 113) by 6 wickets
27th February: Afghanistan v Pakistan

Pakistan 248-8 (Umar Akmal 102no) beat
Afghanistan 176 (M Hafeez 3-29) by 72 runs
28th February: India v Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka 265-8 (Sangakkara 103) beat
India 264-9 (Dhawan 94) by 2 wickets
1st March: Bangladesh v Afghanistan

Afghanistan 254-6 (Asghar Stanikzai 90no) beat
Bangladesh 222 (Mominul Haque 50) by 32 runs
2nd March: India v Pakistan

Pakistan 249-9 (Mohammad Hafeez 75) beat
India 245-8 (Sharma 56) by one wicket
3rd March: Afghanistan v Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka 253-6 (Sangakkara 76) beat
Afghanistan 124 (Mendis 3-11) by 129 runs
4th March: Bangladesh v Pakistan

Pakistan 329-7 (Ahmed Shehzad 103) beat
Bangladesh 326-3 by three wickets
5th March: Afghanistan v India

India 160-2 (Dhawan 60, Rahane 56) beat
Afghanistan 159 (Jadeja 4-30) by 8 wickets
6th March: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka 208-7 (Mathews 74no) beat
Bangladesh 204-9 (Priyanjan 2-11) by 3 wickets
8th March: FINAL - Pakistan v Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka 261-5 (Thirimanne 101) beat
Pakistan 260-5 (Malinga 5-56) by 5 wickets