Afghanistan batsman Hashmatullah Shahidi hit an unbeaten 74 as they stunned former champions Pakistan to win by three wickets with two balls to spare in a thrilling warm-up match in Bristol yesterday.
Chasing a modest 263 for victory, Afghanistan’s opening batsmen Mohamed Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai got them off to a blistering start before Shahidi took charge to help them cross the finish line in the final over.
Pakistan batsman Babar Azam, who shone in their 4-0 series defeat by England this month, continued his excellent form with the bat ahead of the World Cup scoring 112 off 108 balls but his team were restricted to a below-par 262 in 47.5 overs.
Afghanistan spinners Mohamed Nabi (3-46) and Rashid Khan (2-27) then choked the Pakistan batsmen to lay the foundation for a famous win while pacer Dawlat Zadran claimed two wickets, including that of the dangerous Azam.
At Sophia Gardens, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis struck a fluent 88 as his side eased to an 87-run victory over Sri Lanka.
South Africa were sent in to bat in the training match, which did not hold official One-Day International status, and posted 338 for seven, before bowling their opponents out for 251 in 42.3 overs.
The Proteas were without fast bowler Dale Steyn, who is not fit after a re-occurrence of his shoulder problem, but were carried to the win by seamer Lungi Ngidi (2-12 in six overs) and all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo (4-36 in 7 overs).
Ngidi reduced Sri Lanka to 10 for two but excellent half centuries from captain Dimuth Karunaratne (87 from 92 balls) and Angelo Mathews (64 from 66 balls) kept the sub-continent side in the contest.
The run-rate kept rising, though, and both batsmen were caught in the deep trying to accelerate the innings, with the guile of Phehlukwayo in particular stifling the chase.
South Africa will be relieved with runs at the top of the order for opener Hashim Amla as he reached 65 from 61 balls before being bowled by leg-break bowler Jeevan Mendis.
That may earn him the nod ahead of Aiden Markram (21) for South Africa’s World Cup opener against England on Thursday, with the pair vying for a place alongside Quinton de Kock, who did not bat yesterday.
Du Plessis looked in superb touch for his 88 from 69 balls, which included four sixes before he skied a delivery from Dhananjaya de Silva and was caught.
Several the other South African batsmen got starts but no-one else posted a half-century, though Rassie van der Dussen (40) and Phehlukwayo (35) enjoyed their visits to the crease.
* Pakistan 262 all out (Babar 112; Nabi 3-46) lost to Afghanistan 263 for 7 (Hashmatullah 74; Wahab 3-46) by three wickets
n South Africa 338 for 7 (Du Plessis 88, Amla 65; Lakmal 2-63) beat Sri Lanka 251 all out (Karunaratne 87, Mathews 64; Phehlukwayo 4-36, Ngidi 2-12) by 87 runs
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