Sharjeel consigns Kenya to defeat

A brisk hundred from Sharjeel Khan and an unbeaten 34-ball 64 from Babar Azam helped Pakistan A crush Kenya by 155 runs at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. Kenya crumbled in 41.3 overs while chasing a formidable target of 315 in 45 overs as Pakistan took a 2-0 lead with three one-dayers remaining.

Pakistan A started the day with caution after opting to bat first as Kenya bowlers kept the run rate in check, allowing only 23 runs in the first 10 overs. The flow of runs started when Sharjeel hammered left-arm spinner Jadhavji Bhimji for 16 runs in the 15th over, but left-arm pacer Lucas Oluoch returned for his second spell to dent Pakistan with two wickets. He removed Sami Aslam (19) and Fazal Subhan in two successive balls before Fawad Alam prevented the hat-trick.

After being 19 off 35 at one point, Sharjeel completed his half-century in 59 balls with a six. He smacked 12 fours and nine sixes during his 138 off 120 balls, though he was dropped twice – once on 61 at midwicket and then on 120 at extra cover when a relatively simpler catch was put down by Nelson Odhiambo. He was eventually caught when he smashed one straight to the deep-square leg fielder.

Fawad (52) and Sharjeel shared a 128-run stand for the third wicket to help Pakistan pass 200 in the 35th over. Babar and Mohammad Rizwan then put together a quickfire 62-run stand in 29 balls to put up a daunting total of 314.

Kenya started the chase in control, adding 49 for the first wicket as opener Alex Obanda hit seven fours for his 31-ball 36. Thereafter, no batsman looked threatening enough as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Wicketkeeper-batsman Morris Ouma resisted for a while as he held his end with 26 off 58 balls.

No. 9 Elijah Otieno provided a late explosion with his 29-ball 39 but could not hold on for long and his wicket ended the innings on 159. Legspinner Shahzaib Ahmed picked up three wickets for 20 runs while Fawad and Mohammad Talha took two wickets apiece.

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