Sarfraz hails Imad efforts after Pakistan survive Afghanistan scare

Sarfraz Ahmed reserved special praise for Imad Wasim and hailed a collective team effort as Pakistan edged out Afghanistan to earn a crucial Cricket World Cup win at Headingley.

Shaheen Afridi became the first teenager to collect a four-wicket haul in the men's World Cup as Afghanistan posted 227-9 in Leeds.

Pakistan were ticking along nicely in reply despite the second-ball departure of Fakhar Zaman, but the quickfire losses of Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam, after a 72-run stand, saw nerves creep in.

Afghanistan had Pakistan rocking at 156-6, only for Imad's measured 54-ball 49 to see his side home. 

"I think this is a great win for us. This is not an easy pitch to bat on but Imad Wasim, the way he batted and handled the pressure, hats off to him," said Sarfraz in the post-match presentation.

"I think for us Babar and Imad played really well. We needed partnerships but in the end we finished well. Everyone chipped in. It's a team win today."

On Shaheen's efforts with the ball, Sarfraz added: "We all know he's a good bowler. He's improving day by day and working really hard. He bowled really well."

Victory lifts Pakistan into fourth and increases the pressure on hosts England, who face India at Edgbaston on Sunday needing a win to climb back above Sarfraz's men.

"I'm maybe not thinking about that," Sarfraz added. "I don't know if we will all be watching. Hopefully the Indians win."

Afghanistan remain winless and Gulbadin Naib recognised it was another game his side let slip through the net.

"We fought really well. The boys gave it 100 per cent but, again, in the end we missed an opportunity to win the match," he said.

"Credit goes to the Pakistan side. In the end, they controlled their nerves. Imad played really well.

"Obviously when you are playing these kind of matches against these kind of teams you can face a lot of these kind of situations.

"But we will work harder and harder. We have lost the matches at the end of the innings and we are improving."

Gulbadin believes Afghanistan's main issue has been batsmen not posting big enough totals.

"I said at the start of the tournament that 30 or 40 is not a big enough score for the batsmen," he added.

"To put a good total on the board you need 60s and 70s and a hundred. Then you can put a good total on the board.

"This is not enough scoring from the batsman, including me. We are learning a lot in this format and I hope we will do well in the future."

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