Afghanistan inflicted more misery on Pakistan ahead of the Cricket World Cup with a surprise three-wicket victory on Friday.

Pakistan were in need of a lift after being thumped 4-0 in the one-day international series with England, but Afghanistan capitalised on their shortcomings in Bristol.

Babar Azam maintained his outstanding form with 112 from 108 balls as the ICC Champions Trophy holders posted 262 all out, Mohammad Nabi taking 3-46.

Dawlat Zadran and Rashid Khan took two wickets apiece, with only Shoaib Malik (44) offering any notable support for Babar - who scored a century and passed 50 twice in the series defeat to World Cup hosts England.

Hashmatullah Shahidi steered Afghanistan to victory with an unbeaten 74 after Hazratullah Zazai made 49, with 3-46 from Wahab Riaz proving to be in vain.

Shaheen Afridi (0-51 from six overs) was expensive on another bad day at the office for Pakistan a week before they face West Indies in their World Cup opener.

South Africa thrashed Sri Lanka by 87 runs in the other warm-up game of the day in Cardiff, captain Faf du Plessis top scoring with a rapid 88 in the Proteas' 338-7.

Sri Lanka were dismissed for 251 in reply, Andile Phehlukwayo the pick of the bowlers with 4-36. Dimuth Karunaratne (87) and Angelo Mathews (64) made half-centuries, while Avishka Fernando had to be taken off on a stretcher after appearing to suffer an ankle injury while fielding.

 

Junaid Khan has deleted a tweet that seemingly criticised Inzamam-ul-Haq's decision to axe him from Pakistan's Cricket World Cup squad.

Junaid, along with Faheem Ashraf, Yasir Shah and Abid Ali, was omitted from the 15-man squad, which was confirmed on Monday.

The left-arm bowler took to social media following the announcement, posting a picture of himself wearing tape over his mouth, with the caption "I don't want to say anything. Truth is bitter."

That post has since been deleted, with Junaid offering no further explanation.

Earlier on Monday, Pakistan chairman of selectors Inzamam stated that both Junaid and Ashraf had missed out due to underperforming in the recent 4-0 one-day international series loss to England.

"Junaid and Faheem had been originally preferred over a few other bowlers based on their recent performances and the investment we had made on them since 2017," said Inzamam.

"They had the opportunity to cement their World Cup spots, but they were well below-par in the series against England even though they were up against the difficult challenge of bowling on placid and batsmen-friendly wickets.

"After it became obvious that the bat is likely to dominate the ball in the World Cup, we revisited our strategy and reverted to the pace of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz."

Pakistan start their World Cup campaign against tournament hosts England on June 3.

Inzamam-ul-Haq says it would have been "foolish" to have omitted Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir from Pakistan's Cricket World Cup squad after a "lack of potency" shown in the series defeat to England.

Wahab has not played a one-day international for almost two years, but was on Monday named in the final 15-man squad along with fellow left-arm quick Amir - who has recovered from chickenpox.

Junaid Khan and Faheem Ashraf will miss the tournament in England and Wales along with spinner Yasir Shah, while batsman Asif Ali was preferred to Abid Ali.

Having learned of his omission, Junaid uploaded an image on Twitter of himself with tape over his mouth alongside the caption: "I don't want to say anything. Truth is bitter."

Pakistan chairman of selectors Inzamam says a combination of Junaid and Ashraf's performances in a 4-0 ODI series loss to England and flat pitches led to the alternations.

"Junaid and Faheem had been originally preferred over a few other bowlers based on their recent performances and the investment we had made on them since 2017," said Inzamam.

"They had the opportunity to cement their World Cup spots, but they were well below-par in the series against England even though they were up against the difficult challenge of bowling on placid and batsmen-friendly wickets.

"After it became obvious that the bat is likely to dominate the ball in the World Cup, we revisited our strategy and reverted to the pace of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz.

"Furthermore, Amir and Wahab give the fast bowling attack more experience to back and support the relatively inexperienced but immensely talent Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain."

He added: "The lack of potency of our frontline bowlers in the recent ODI series against England meant that a change was needed. In addition, we now know that we will encounter batting wickets throughout the World Cup campaign. 

“The combination of both these elements meant that we believed that right now, utilising the World Cup experience and knowledge of Wahab was the correct choice.

"Wahab has been training and playing club cricket, and the player of his calibre will not face much problem in adapting and adjusting to the gruelling demands of the World Cup. In addition, playing in the World Cup warm-up matches, bowling his quota, will have him match-ready.

"The bowling unit during the England ODIs has not clicked as anticipated or expected; if we have at our disposal the vastly experienced pace duo of Amir and Wahab, then it will be foolish not to include them."

Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir and Asif Ali have been included in Pakistan's Cricket World Cup squad.

Abid Ali, Junaid Khan and Faheem Ashraf were omitted along with Yasir Shah when the final 15-man party was named on Monday.

It is almost two years since Wahab featured in a one-day international, but the left-arm paceman has been given the nod for the tournament in England and Wales.

Amir, outstanding in Pakistan's ICC Champions Trophy triumph two years ago, was left out of the initial squad, but it was no surprise that he made the cut after recovering from chickenpox.

Batsman Asif was named in the squad a matter of hours after it was announced that his daughter had lost her battle with cancer.

Pakistan suffered a 4-0 ODI series defeat to England after losing by 54 runs at Headingley on Sunday.

Sarfraz Ahmed's side start their World Cup campaign against West Indies at Trent Bridge on May 31 following warm-up games against Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

 

Pakistan squad:

Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Asif Ali, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz.

Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur is convinced his side can shine at the Cricket World Cup, even though they will head into the tournament on the back of 10 successive ODI losses.

A 54-run defeat at Headingley on Sunday condemned Pakistan to a 4-0 series reverse at the hands of England, the World Cup hosts.

However, Arthur was determined to remain upbeat after seeing his side post scores of 361-7, 358-9, 340-7 and 297, only to be out-gunned by a prolific home batting line-up.

"We sit here having taken a huge amount of positives out of this series," said Arthur. "I thought we batted extremely well. Our bowling has been average at best and our fielding has been average at best but we've batted fairly well.

"The other thing is we've played against a team who are number one in the world in their own conditions. I know there's not too many teams who will arrive in England as prepared as we are in terms of the competition we've played against and match fitness.

"We've got a couple of days now to regroup, two warm-up games and then we'll go. I'm very, very confident with the players we've got. We need to sharpen up on a couple of disciplines but we'll certainly get there. We'll be good."

Asked to outline his expectations for the World Cup, Arthur added: "All I know is that the players are very, very determined to do well. Every time they go out there they play for 210 million people.

"We all take defeat in a disappointing way, as our supporter base do. The players are good. Come the first game against the West Indies [on May 31], we'll be ready. I'm as confident that we'll do well as I've ever been."

Arthur, who confirmed paceman Mohammad Amir is available for World Cup selection after missing the England series through illness, acknowledged Pakistan have to improve significantly in the field.

"It's been very disappointing. I think that's been the massive difference between the two sides," he added.

"That's a real worry for me because we are putting a hell of a lot of effort into it and there's not a massive amount of reward for us there at the moment. We'll just keep knocking away at it though, just to make sure we get it up to speed.

"Fielding is about attitude and wanting to get out there and get it done. Our boys' attitude has been outstanding through this series and for the years before. They know where they are short, they know they've been short in this department and they are not happy about it. They are working damn hard at it."

Chris Woakes acknowledged a nervy Monday lies ahead for England's Cricket World Cup hopefuls as they await confirmation of who has made the final squad for the tournament on home soil.

Woakes appears a certainty to be selected given his consistently impressive performances in one-day internationals, the latest of which saw him return 5-54 at Headingley to help Eoin Morgan's men to a 54-run victory over Pakistan and a 4-0 series triumph.

Yet competition for places, particularly in England's bowling ranks, is fierce and the likes of David Willey, Tom Curran and Joe Denly seem to be among those most at risk of losing out with Jofra Archer anticipated to be picked.

The squad will be announced on Tuesday, with each player likely to discover their fate the day before it is made public.

"Everyone will be looking at their phones tomorrow [Monday], I suppose, if that's when we find out," said Woakes in a news conference following his man-of-the-match display in Leeds. "Everyone will be wary of that phone call.

"Even if you feel like you've got a good chance to be in the squad, until you hear it from the selectors' mouths, it's not quite set in stone.

"As a player you're still probably a little bit on edge, in particular with this 16 and 17 players because everyone has performed at some point over the series [against Pakistan]. 

"In the last couple of years people have put in strong performances. It's a tricky decision for selectors and I'm glad I'm not having to make that decision. It has to be done, I suppose."

Woakes, who acknowledged the timing of his impressive display on Sunday was "pretty nice", believes England's strength in depth has raised performance levels.

"It's certainly driven everyone forward to try and improve, to make sure they're on top of their game, to make sure they tick everything off in practice," he added.

"Whenever you get the opportunity to bowl in practice, or bat or field, you constantly feel ... not like you're on audition, but like it's an opportunity to show your skills.

"It's certainly driven everyone to try and improve and it's certainly showed in our performances over the series."

Chris Woakes claimed a fabulous five-wicket haul as England wrapped up a 4-0 series victory over Pakistan with a 54-run triumph in the fifth and final ODI at Headingley.

Home skipper Eoin Morgan opted to bat first - in preparation for losing a toss at the upcoming Cricket World Cup - and then provided one of two substantial contributions to a total of 351-9, scoring 76 from 64 balls as Joe Root hit 84 off 73.

Woakes then undermined Pakistan's reply by taking three wickets in his first two overs, which were both maidens, and finishing with 5-54 to underline his value with the World Cup looming.

The tourists will head into the global showpiece having lost 10 ODIs in a row. They were dismissed for 297 in 46.5 overs on Sunday, despite 97 from captain Sarfraz Ahmed and a typically stylish 80 from Babar Azam.

Pakistan's top scorers were both run out, Babar thanks to an eye-catching piece of work from Adil Rashid, who produced another moment of magic to catch Shoaib Malik off his own bowling.

Liam Plunkett, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood were all rested, suggesting the trio have done enough to earn places in England's final World Cup squad, to be announced on Tuesday.

Woakes also appears a certainty to be selected given his consistently strong performances in recent years and he made a spectacular start to his opening spell, having Fakhar Zaman caught at second slip before Abid Ali and Mohammad Hafeez were both trapped lbw to leave Pakistan 6-3.

An enjoyable stand of 146 between Babar and Sarfraz brought Pakistan back into the contest, only for the former to be brilliantly run out when Rashid flicked the ball onto the stumps at the non-striker's end without looking from Jos Buttler's throw.

England continued to excel in the field and Rashid's one-handed return catch to dismiss Shoaib was followed by Buttler reacting sharply to deny Sarfraz a hundred. England's wicketkeeper stuck out his boot to stop a late cut before striking the stumps with Sarfraz's bat inside the crease but not grounded.

That breakthrough all but ended Pakistan's hopes of a successful chase and Woakes returned to claim two more scalps before a 10th-wicket stand of 47 between Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain delayed the inevitable.

England's total owed much to the work of Root and Morgan, who put on 117 for the third wicket after openers James Vince (33) and Jonny Bairstow (32) had departed. 

A second batting collapse in as many matches followed but Tom Curran provided a degree of momentum in the closing overs, following up his crucial 31 at Trent Bridge with 29 not out from 15 balls.

Curran and Willey could well be battling it out for one slot in England's World Cup squad, but neither could make a notable impression with the ball, returning respective figures of 0-40 from six overs and 1-55 from nine.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed delivered mixed news on the injury front and acknowledged his side need to improve their fielding after they were beaten by three wickets at Trent Bridge to lose their ODI series against England.

Having lost with respective totals of 361 and 358 at Southampton and Bristol respectively, Pakistan failed to defend a score of 340-7 on Friday, despite a significant wobble from their hosts in reply.

Ben Stokes' unbeaten 71 proved crucial for England after Jason Roy, who was dropped twice, scored 114 amid some lacklustre work in the field.

In the post-match presentation, Sarfraz lamented Pakistan's mistakes and provided updates on the fitness of Imam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Amir.

"If we were fielding well and took catches, we had enough runs on the board," said the wicketkeeper-batsman.

"We've been working very hard for the last one and a half years and it was very improved, but the way we've fielded here in three matches is not up to the mark. We have to improve."

Imam was forced to retire hurt after being struck on the elbow by a delivery from Mark Wood, but the opener was cleared of a fracture following X-rays and returned late in Pakistan's innings.

Paceman Amir, meanwhile, has yet to feature in the series due to illness and it is unclear when he will be able to return, with Pakistan's Cricket World Cup opener just a fortnight away.

"Imam hopefully will be ok," said Sarfraz. "He's got a bruise on his elbow so hopefully he will come back, but I'm not sure about Amir."

Roy revealed his impressive innings had come as something of a surprise after he spent the night in hospital with his daughter.

He told the BBC's Test Match Special: "I'm not in the form of my life. It was not my most fluent of innings but it was an extremely special feeling to get over three figures. I didn't see it coming.

"I had a bit of a rough morning so this one is a special one for me and my family.

"It was my little one. We had to take her to hospital at 1:30 in the morning. I stayed there until 8:30 and came back for a couple of hours sleep and got to the ground just before the warm-up and cracked on. It was a very emotional hundred."

Ben Stokes and Tom Curran rode to England's rescue as they overcame a major wobble with the bat to beat Pakistan by three wickets at Trent Bridge and open up an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match ODI series.

The much-changed hosts - led by Jos Buttler with Eoin Morgan suspended - were initially cruising in pursuit of 341, reaching 201-1 inside 28 overs on the back of Jason Roy's 89-ball 114.

Roy's dismissal at the hands of Mohammad Hasnain triggered an alarming and unexpected collapse that saw England lose four wickets for 15 runs in 17 deliveries.

The required run-rate rose above nine per over thereafter but Stokes (71 not out) shared a crucial seventh-wicket partnership of 61 with Curran, who followed up figures of 4-75 with 31 runs, before sealing victory in the company of Adil Rashid with three balls unused as Pakistan were left to rue a series of sloppy errors in the field.

For the third match in succession, a Pakistan century proved in vain, Babar Azam striking 115 from 112 balls in a losing cause.

Pakistan's total of 340-7 represented their lowest score of the series so far and looked short of par at a venue synonymous with high-scoring feats in recent years, most notably when England registered a world-record tally of 481-6 against Australia last June.

The tourists were dealt a blow early in their innings when Imam-ul-Haq was struck on his left elbow by a Mark Wood short ball and forced to retire hurt. Happily, X-rays showed the opener had avoided a fracture and he returned at the end of his side's innings to finish six not out.

Babar, brought to the crease in the fourth over due to Imam's injury, produced some typically thrilling strokes as he shared in century stands with Fakhar Zaman (57) and the recalled Mohammad Hafeez, who made a somewhat streaky 59.

However, none of that trio were able to accelerate effectively and Shoaib Malik's 26-ball 41 appeared too little, too late as England kept their opponents in check.

Roy rode his luck in reply and would have been run out for seven had Babar managed a direct hit. The opener also offered chances on 25 and 33 and made Pakistan pay for their missed opportunities, kicking on superbly after James Vince had been bowled by Hasnain for 43.

A stunning six over cover off Hafeez brought up Roy's hundred, before he, Joe Root (36), Buttler (0) and Moeen Ali (0) all departed in quick succession to breathe fresh life into the contest.

Junaid Khan then pulled off a superb catch off his own bowling to account for Joe Denly (17), but Pakistan's fielding was hugely unimpressive on the whole and they seemingly failed to appeal when Curran may have been run out for seven.

With Pakistan looking increasingly ragged, England gradually regained control and Stokes fittingly hit the winning run to round off an encouraging individual display ahead of the Cricket World Cup on home soil.

Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haq has received the all-clear after suffering a nasty blow to the elbow against England in the fourth ODI at Trent Bridge.

Imam was forced to retire hurt in the fourth over on Friday when a short ball from Mark Wood caught him flush on the left elbow.

The 23-year-old was in clear discomfort after the injury and taken to hospital for a precautionary X-ray, raising doubts over his fitness for the upcoming Cricket World Cup, but Pakistan later reported he had avoided serious damage.

A post on the official Twitter page of the Pakistan Cricket Board read: "Imam injury update. Imam-ul-Haq taken to hospital for X-ray. All X-rays are clear. Swelling on his left arm only."

The news is a welcome boost for Pakistan, who begin their World Cup campaign against West Indies – also at Trent Bridge – on May 31.

England captain Eoin Morgan has been suspended for the fourth one-day international against Pakistan due to a slow over-rate during Tuesday's victory in Bristol.

The skipper become England's most-capped ODI player in a six-wicket win that gave his side a 2-0 series lead with two matches to play, but he will not feature at Trent Bridge on Friday.

Morgan, who surpassed Paul Collingwood by making a 198th ODI appearance for England at the County Ground, was also fined 40 per cent of his match fee after the hosts were two overs short of bowling 50 in the allotted time.

The batsman had also been found guilty of a minor over-rate offence during an ODI against West Indies in Barbados on February 22.

Morgan's team-mates were docked 20 per cent of their match fees.

Jonny Bairstow has also been reprimanded for his reaction to being dismissed for a magnificent 128.

The wicketkeeper-batsman clattered his bat into the stumps after playing on to a delivery from Junaid Khan and has been given one demerit point by the ICC.

Eoin Morgan said wins like England's over Pakistan on Tuesday will boost his side's confidence ahead of the Cricket World Cup.

England completed their second highest successful one-day international run chase in a six-wicket victory in Bristol.

Set 359 for victory, Jonny Bairstow (128 off 93) and Jason Roy (76 off 55) guided England to their target with an incredible 31 balls to spare.

With the Cricket World Cup starting later this month, captain Morgan said such performances would only give England more belief.

"When guys perform like this it builds confidence within the changing room," he said.

"With regards to looking ahead, that is a really positive thing for our group."

Imam-ul-Haq's 151 had set Pakistan up in the third ODI, but Roy and Bairstow quickly took the game away from the tourists.

Bairstow, who hit 15 fours and five sixes, was happy with his innings, although he wanted more.

"I was really pleased with that hundred. Coming back into English conditions after playing in the IPL [Indian Premier League] was a big change and it's nice to hit the ground running," he said.

"It was frustrating to drag one on – I wanted to get a 170, 180, win the game and walk off that way."

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed lamented his side's bowling performance as they conceded eight runs per over to fall 2-0 behind in the five-match series.

"At halfway we spoke and were very confident, but our bowling was not up to the mark. I think they played better than us and that is why they won," he said.

"We have to improve our bowling in the next matches. Both openers have played well and again Asif Ali played really well for us. That is a good sign."

Jonny Bairstow led the way with a magnificent 128 as England provided another imposing exhibition of their batting strength by chasing down 359 with remarkable ease to secure a six-wicket win in the third one-day international against Pakistan.

A score of 373-3 proved just enough for Eoin Morgan's men in the second ODI at Southampton, after the series-opener was washed out, and they required another sizeable total in Bristol on Tuesday, with Imam-ul-Haq's superb 151 helping Pakistan to 358-9.

However, Bairstow and Jason Roy (76) duly shared 159 in 17.3 overs and a home win never looked in doubt thereafter as England moved 2-0 up in the series with two matches to play, ruthlessly reaching their target with 31 balls unused.

By the time Bairstow, who heavily favoured the leg side in a brutal innings featuring 15 fours and five maximums, was dismissed, the required rate had been reduced to less than a run a ball.

That lifted any pressure on the middle order and the Cricket World Cup hosts were able to cruise home, completing the highest successful ODI chase in England as Joe Root (43), Ben Stokes (37) and Moeen Ali (46 not out) all made useful contributions.

It says much for England's batting line-up that they began their chase favoured by many despite being set 359 in the absence of Jos Buttler. He was rested along with Adil Rashid as skipper Morgan became England's most-capped ODI player. 

On a friendly batting surface and with some small boundaries to target, Bairstow and Roy actually began relatively sedately, taking just 26 from the first five overs before the latter was given a life on 21 as Shaheen Afridi spilled a simple chance at mid off to deny Hasan Ali a wicket.

That mistake soon proved costly as England's openers quickly shifted into overdrive, Bairstow scoring almost exclusively through leg as he overtook his partner.

Roy missed out on a hundred when he fell to Faheem Ashraf, but the brilliant Bairstow pressed on to record his first ODI hundred in 11 months before playing on to Junaid Khan, and Pakistan were guilty of some more sloppy fielding - twice dropping Moeen - as they slumped to what had become an inevitable defeat.

The tourists' loss was harsh on Imam, who moved through the gears beautifully to record Pakistan's highest individual score against England, surpassing Fakhar Zaman's 138 at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.

Imam's chief support came from Asif Ali, who continued to push his case for promotion to his country's 15-man World Cup squad with a 43-ball 52.

Chris Woakes was the pick of England's attack, a peach of a delivery to take Babar Azam's off stump the highlight of the seamer's work as he returned 4-67 from 10 overs. Joe Denly, drafted in to replace Rashid, was handed just one over, which went for nine.

Eoin Morgan lauded Jos Buttler for his "freakish" 55-ball knock that helped England to victory over Pakistan in the second one-day international.

England took a 1-0 series lead - the opener was rained off - as Buttler recorded his country's second-fastest ODI century in a 12-run win in Southampton.

Captain Morgan was at the other end for the entirety of Buttler's innings of 110 and, with the Cricket World Cup just weeks away, he was encouraged by his team-mate's impressive display.

"He's very good. He really is," Morgan said. "I was in prime position to see the whole innings and his freakish knocks seem to be getting closer and closer together.

"That's a great sign for us going forward. He seems to have a gear that not many of us have. I certainly don't have it.

"He always seems to time his run well, however long he has in. It's always open for discussion whether he should bat up the order, but he was the difference today."

Explaining his knack for producing match-turning performances, Buttler added: "Cricket has developed a lot in the last few years and everyone's trying to expand their range at the end of the innings.

"It's a huge part of the game trying to extend that last 15 overs. You start by building a partnership and the guys set a brilliant platform.

"Because we bat deep, that allows us to try to push on a bit earlier in the innings. It's just about trying to get as many as you can as fast as you can."

Jos Buttler scored England's second-fastest ODI century to fire them to a 12-run victory over Pakistan in the second match of the series at Southampton.

Buttler owns the record for England's quickest ton in the 50-over format having hitting a 46-ball hundred against the same opposition in 2015.

He came close to besting that in another devastating performance, which encompassed six fours and nine maximums, as Buttler put on a pivotal partnership of 162 for the fifth-wicket with captain Eoin Morgan (71 not out).

Buttler finished unbeaten on 110 as England closed on 373-3, a target that proved too big for Pakistan even with Fakhar Zaman's superb 138.

The tourists finished with 361-7 and fall 1-0 behind in the series after the opener was rained off earlier this week.

Jason Roy (87) and Jonny Bairstow (51) provided England with a great platform to work with, though their 115-run opening stand would have been curtailed had Bairstow not survived an lbw review.

Bairstow pulled to Fakhar, who made a superb catch at the square leg fence, the ball after reaching his 50 and Roy looped to mid-on after a rain delay checked England's momentum.

Joe Root went to Yasir Shah for 40 but Morgan and Buttler, who brought up his century with a booming shot over long-off, produced a scintillating finish to the innings, the final five overs going for 74.

Pakistan's innings never hit the same heights but 92 runs were on the board by the time Imam-ul-Haq (35) was caught and bowled by Moeen Ali.

Fakhar provided their main threat with 12 fours to go with four maximums, but he was caught behind by Buttler chasing a wide delivery and Pakistan's hopes were dented further when Babar Azam (51) followed five balls later.

Asif Ali (51) kept Pakistan in the hunt with stands of 41 and 49 with Haris Sohail and Sarfaraz Ahmed, but his departure in the 46th over to David Willey - who had dropped him earlier - sparked an excellent spell of death bowling from England. 

The last three overs featured two wickets and no boundaries, with Morgan and Buttler's late firepower ultimately proving the difference.

Page 1 of 15
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.