09.16 (IST): Misbah: At the start when we lost wickets, I was hoping we'll reach somewhere close to 200 but Umar Akmal played very well. Some shot selection was poor and disappointing. Most of the batsmen did not read the situation well.Â Afghanistan always stick to their plan and don't give a lot of width. They always make it hard for us to score runs. They are also a fantastic fielding side. I think bowlers put in a good effort. The spinners were very good.
09.14 (IST): Mohammed Nabi: Yes our bowlers bowled very well but Umar Akmal played very well.
09.00 (IST):Its all over! Pakistan have beaten Afghanistan by 72 runs and in the process they've also earned a bonus point, which takes them to the top of the points table with five points.
08.56 (IST): OUT! Another one down. Ajmal foxes Dawlat Zadran with a doosra. Zadran had no clue where the ball was going and was eventually bowled. Afghanistan 172/8 in 44.1 overs.
08.51 (IST): OUT! Afghanistan lose seven. Another misunderstanding between the batsmen and another run out. Mirwais Ashraf (4) has to take the long walk back to the pavilion. Afghanistan 172/7 in 44 overs, still need 77 to win in six overs.
08.49 (IST): If Pakistan keep Afghanistan down to 198 or below, they will get a bonus point from this game.
08.39 (IST): OUT! Afghanistan skipper Mohammed Nabi is gone! Billy Bowden took his time once again but him out leg before to Umar Gul. Afghanistan 158/6 in 40.4 overs.
08.32 (IST): Afghanistan are five down now. Mohammed Hafeez cleans up Najibullah Zadran. Afghanistan 151/5 in 39.5 overs.
08.25 (IST): Another wicket! Afghanistan are stumbling in their run chase here. Nawroz Mangal (35) is run out. Afghanistan 141/3 in 37.2 overs
08.20 (IST): WICKET! The Afghan resilience has been broken. Asghar Stanikzai (40) is caught by Mohammed Hafeez off Shahid Afridi. Afghanistan 139/3 in 37 overs.
07.47 (IST): 100 comes up for Afghanistan in 29.3 overs. They have eight wickets in hand and need 149 runs to win from 123 balls.
07.36 (IST): The two wickets have certainly put a dent into Afghanistan's run chase. They're now 80/2 in 26.2 overs, needing 169 runs off 23.4 overs.
07.10 (IST): OUT! Noor Ali Zadran is gone, trapped leg before by Saeed Ajmal. He was looking good, falls for 44. Afghanistan 65/2 in 18.5 overs.
06.35 (IST): Afghanistan reach 42/1 in 10 overs with Noor Ali Zadran (32) and Asghar Stanizai (1) in the middle.
06.11 (IST): OUT! Mohammed Shahzad is gone! Billy Bowden took his time but raised the crooked finger to an appeal for caught behind. Afghanistan 32/1 in 5 overs.
05.57 (IST): A brisk start from Afghanistan! Noor Ali Zadran and Mohammed Shahzad have managed to score a couple of boundaries to reach 17/0 in 2 overs.
05.45 (IST): Mohammad Shehzad, who is a big fan of MS Dhoni and has modeled his game (and his hairstyle) around Indian skipper, walks out with Noor Ali Zadran to begin Afghanistan's run chase.
05.15 (IST): Pakistan finish on 248/8 in 50 overs.
05.08 (IST): Umar Akmal gets his ton! His second in ODIs. What an effort from him. He has come to his side's rescue when they have needed him the most. It has come in 88 balls and has come off a six. Pakistan 247/8 in 49.5 overs.
05.01 (IST): Umar Gul is gone! He hit a six and a four but couldn't connect on the third occasion as he was bowled by Dawlat Zadran. Pakistan lose their eighth wicket. Pak 217/8 in 48 overs.
04.38 (IST): 19th ODI fifty for Umar Akmal! His second consecutive one too. A laboured effort from the middle-order batsman. He gets to his fifty in 60 balls and has scored just two fours and one six.
04.36 (IST): More misery for Pakistan! Anwar Ali is gone. A splendid running catch from Nawroz Mangal to give Mirwais Ashraf a wicket. Pakistan 177/7 in 42.4 overs.
04.30 (IST): Fifty-run stand between Umar Akmal and Azhar Ali for the seventh wicket. Pakistan 171/6 in 41 overs.
03.58 (IST): It is still early days, but the points table at the moment is: 1. Sri Lanka 2. India 3. Afghanistan 4. Bangladesh 5. Pakistan. The team that finishes in the top two will play in the final. Since the format is such, each game becomes vital.
03.40 (IST): As the senior side look to pave the way for an upset over Pakistan, the U-19 side has beaten Sri Lanka in Dubai to finish seventh in the World Cup.
03.36 (IST): Shahid Afridi goes now! He goes for a big heave and misses the ball complete. The ball goes on to hit the stumps to give Dawlat Zadran a wicket. Pakistan 117/6 in 29.3 overs.
03.23 (IST): OUT! Pakistan have lost their fifth wicket here! Sohaib Maqsood is gone, caught by Asghar Stanikzai at mid-on, giving Samiullah Shenwari his second wicket of the game. Pakistan 108/5 in 26.5 overs.
03.19 (IST):100 up for Pakistan! It has come in 25.1 overs. Pakistan still have a lot of work to do if they are to restrict Afghanistan from causing an upset here.
03.17 (IST): Oh dear! This is trouble for Pakistan! Misbah-ul-Haq is gone for a duck without facing a ball as he is run out. Pakistan 89/4 in 23.1 overs.
03.10 (IST): Shehzad is gone! Lapse of concentration after scoring the fifty? Maybe. He is cleaned up by Samiullah Shenwari. Pakistan 89/3 in 23 overs.
03.07 (IST): Fifty for Ahmed Shehzad. His sixth in ODIs. It has come in 71 balls. Pakistan 89/2 in 22.3 overs.
02.55 (IST): WICKET! Mohammed Hafeez is gone, caught by Mohammed Nabi at mid-off. Mirwais Ashraf gets a wicket. Pakistan 78/2 in 19.5 overs.
02.49 (IST): Exceptional bowling from medium-pacer Mirwais Ashraf and left-arm spinner Hamza Hotak. Between them, they have bowled eight overs, conceding just 16 runs and picking up the only wicket so far. Pakistan are finding runs hard to come by. Pakistan 67/1 in 18 overs.
02.42 (IST): Afghanistan will be buoyed by this start. They have been very tight in the field and their bowlers have done fairly well to keep the Pakistan scoring down to 4 runs an over. Pakistan 64/1 in 16 overs.
02.33 (IST): There comes the first wicket! Sharjeel Khan is gone, caught by Noor Ali at deep midwicket. Pakistan 55/1 in 12.3 overs.
02.10 (IST): Ahmed Shehzad is getting a move on here. He has looked far more comfortable than his batting partner Sharjeel Khan. Pakistan reach 39/0 in 10 overs.
01.57 (IST): The slow Fatullah wicket has kept the batsmen from scoring quickly early on in the innings. All the games so far have seen teams begin on a cautious note. In the first game between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, Sri Lanka managed 17/0 while Pakistan reached 21/0. In the game between India and Bangladesh, the latter managed 16/0 while the former could only get 11/0 in the first five overs. Today too, Pakistan have scored just 18/0 in 5 overs.
01.51 (IST): Slow start for Pakistan here. The openers don't seem to be in a hurry. Afghanistan will feel a little let down by a caught behind appeal against Sharjeel that was turned down. Replays showed there was a deflection off the gloves. Pakistan 5/0 in 3.2 overs.
01.05 (IST): Afghanistan skipper Mohammed Nabi has won the toss and decided to field first against Pakistan at Fatullah. Pakistan bring in Anwar Ali for Bilawal Bhatti.
It would be a trial by fire for Afghanistan when the gutsy team from the strife-torn country makes its Asia Cup debut by taking on defending champions Pakistan in Fatullah on Thursday. (Asia Cup schedule)
Mohammad Nabi's Afghanistan was brought into the Asia Cup after it qualified for the 50-over World Cup scheduled next year. They would look to make a good impression in front of their four sub-continental neighbours, namely India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The interest that they have managed to generate by their presence notwithstanding, Afghanistan are not expected to go too far in the tournament given that they have played just two one-dayers against Test nations, losing both matches to Pakistan and Australia.
That exposure also came way back in 2012 and it would be interesting to see how the minnows have grown since then.
What would count in their favour in the Asia Cup is the team's firm understanding of the local conditions given that eight from the current squad have participated in various domestic competitions here including the Bangladesh Premier League.
"Rahmat Shah, Azghar (Stanikzai), Gulbadin Naib, (Mohammad) Shahzad, Shapoor (Zadran), maybe half the team has played in Bangladesh and this is a good experience for them and for Afghanistan," said Nabi, himself a regular at the T20 event.
"We will try our best against every team. There is no target. We will play good cricket and when the time comes we will win," he added.
Whatever the end result, Afghanistan are expected to put their best foot forward on the field, making them exciting prospects at the regional mega-event.
Pakistan, on the other hand, would have to quickly shake off the disappointment of losing their tournament-opener against Sri Lanka.
The temperamental side was done in by speedster Lasith Malinga's brilliant five-wicket haul under pressure and opener Lahiru Thirimanne's second ODI century as it lost by 12 runs while chasing 297 on Tuesday. (Read full preview)
Pakistan:Â Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood, Fawad Alam, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Junaid Khan, Umar Gul, Anwar Ali, Bilawal Bhatti, Mohammad Talha.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Nabi (capt), Naowroz Mangal, Asghar Stanikzai, Dawlat Zadran, Fazal Niazai, Hamid Hassan, Hamza Hotak, Karim Sadiq, Mirwaiz Ashraf, Mohammad Shahzad, Najibullah Zadran, Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Samiullah Shenwari, Shapoor Zadran.
Match starts at 1.30 pm (IST).
Story first published on: Thursday, 27 February 2014 12:16 IST