A century to the Pakistan batsman digs his team out of trouble.
Umar Akmal hit a fighting unbeaten century to lift defending champions Pakistan to 248-8 in their crucial Asia Cup match against a disciplined Afghanistan in Dhaka on Thursday.
The 23-year-old right-hander led the recovery with a 89-ball 102, hitting a six off the penultimate delivery to complete his second one-day hundred.
In all he hit seven boundaries and three sixes, helping Pakistan to put on 59 runs in the last five overs.
Akmal led the fightback through a 60-run seventh wicket stand with Anwar Ali (21) to lift Pakistan from a precarious 117-6 in the 30th over.
Mirwais Ashraf (2-29), Dawlat Zadran (2-73) and Samiullah Shinwari (2-34) had jolted the batting after Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi won the toss and opted to bowl on a slow Fatullah stadium pitch.
Pakistan began fluently with a stand of 55 between Ahmed Shehzad (50), who hit seven boundaries in his 74-ball innings, and Sharjeel Khan (25).
But once spinner Hamza Hotak (1-22) had provided the breakthrough by dismissing Khan, Afghanistan grabbed six wickets in the space of 62 runs.
Mohammad Hafeez fell for ten, Misbah-ul Haq was run out for nought without facing a ball, Sohaib Maqsood went for 13 and Shahid Afridi for six.
Misbah, the world’s highest run scorer in one-day cricket last year, was the dismissal which jolted Pakistan badly.
But Akmal held the innings together to ensure Pakistan reached a respectable total in a game they must win, after losing their first match to Sri Lanka by 12 runs on Tuesday.
India beat Bangladesh by six wickets in the tournament’s second match on Wednesday.
Scoreboard after Pakistan’s innings in the Asia Cup one-day international match against Afghanistan in Fatullah on Thursday:
Sharjeel Khan c Noor Ali b Hotak 25
Ahmed Shehzad b Shinwari 50
Mohammad Hafeez b Nabi b Ashraf 10
Sohaib Maqsood Stanikzai b Shinwari 13
Misbah-ul Haq run out 0
Umar Akmal not out 102
Shahid Afridi b Dawlat Zadran 6
Anwar Ali c Mangal b Ashraf 21
Umar Gul b Dawlat Zadran 15
Saeed Ajmal not out 1
Extras: (lb2, nb1, w2) 5
Total: (for eight wkts; 50 overs) 248
Did not bat: Junaid Khan
Fall of wickets: 1-55 (Sharjeel Khan), 2-78 (Hafeez), 3-89 (Shehzad), 4-89 (Misbah), 5-108 (Maqsood), 6-117 (Afridi), 7-177 (Ali), 8-217 (Gul)
Bowling: Shapoor 9-1-42-0 (1w), Dawlat Zadran 10-0-73-2 (1nb), Nabi 8-0-46-0, Hotak 8-1-22-1, Ashraf 8-1-29-2, Shinwari 7-0-34-2 (1w)
Afghanistan: Mohammad Nabi(capt), Mohammad Shehzad, Nawroz Mangal, Asghar Stanikzai, Merwais Ashraf, Samiullah Shinwari, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran, Amir Hamza, Najibullah Zadran, Noor Zardan.
Umpires: Billy Bowden (NZL) and Johan Cloete (RSA)
Tv umpire: C. K. Nandan (IND)
Match referee: Chris Broad (ENG)