Leeds: Pakistan bowlers did not exactly dominate but pacer Shaheen Afridi's four-wicket haul helped the side limit Afghanistan to 227 for nine in their must-win World Cup match here on Saturday.
If Afghanistan finished with a below par total after electing to bat under sunny conditions, it was because the batsmen threw away their wickets with some poor shot selection.
Contributions from Asghar Afghan (42 off 35) and Najibullah Zadran (42 off 54) gave the bowlers something to bowl at.
Afridi, who had starred in Pakistan's win over New Zealand, was impressive upfront as well as in the death overs, ending with figures of four for 47 in 10 overs.
Batting has been Afghanistan's weakest link in the competition in which they are yet to win a game in seven attempts. And the batsmen disappointed yet again.
Afridi put Pakistan on top with a double strike in his opening spell, removing skipper Gulbadin Naib (15) and Hashmatullah Shahidi off successive balls. Pakistan got the on-field call overturned to have Naib adjudged caught behind for their first wicket.
Afghanistan were in more trouble when a set Rahmat Shah (35) was dismissed by left-arm spinner Imad Wasim.
Asghar and wicket-keeper batsman Ikram Ali Khil (24) then tried to resurrect the innings with a 64-run stand with the former being the aggressor. Asghar went on the offensive against the spinners to limited success but in the end leggie Shadab Khan had the last laugh as he swept one on to his stumps.
The former Afghanistan captain's entertaining knock comprised three fours and couple of sixes.
Zadran came up with a handy innings towards the end to lend the total some respectability on a slow surface. Besides Afridi's stellar showing, pacer Wahab Riaz and Imad Wasim picked up two wickets each. (PTI)