Pakistan came into the series believing it could easily defeat Afghanistan and move up to the No.1 spot in the ICC ODI Ranking 2023. The boys in green made sure they achieve what they believe. Defeating Afghanistan by 3-0, Pakistan has attained the No.1 Spot in ODI team rankings.
They bowled Afghanistan out for 59 in the opening game after defending a low total. They were also forced to sweat in the second, with Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran putting up a double century opening stand before Pakistan prevailed by one wicket with a ball to spare.
On the strength of half-centuries from Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam, Pakistan set up 268-8 in the third match before restricting Afghanistan to 97-7. Even if the final margin of 59 runs was comfortable enough, this series has been full of twists and turns, so perhaps it wasn’t a surprise that one materialised.
However, the origin of the alleged comeback was unexpected. With an ODI average of 6.15 and a top score of 27 in more over 300 professional games, Mujeeb Ur Rahman entered the game at No. 9. He then smashed a half-century in 26 balls, finishing with five fours and five sixes. With the wicket falling hit for 64 off 37, the removal was as puzzling as the innings itself. Pakistan were glad to see him go, even though the rate always seemed just out their reach.
Soon after, Shaheen Shah Afridi sealed the deal and secured Pakistan’s triumph and place at the top. Pakistan will face Nepal in the Asia Cup opener on Wednesday, August 30, and will enter the tournament as the best side in the world. In May, they had the title before.
In the rankings, Australia is in second place, followed by India, New Zealand, and world champions England.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) August 26, 2023