Pakistan wins the lone T20I under Shadab's direction, and Afghanistan wins the series.
AFP || Shining BD
However, Afghanistan wins the series 2-1. Pakistan's stand-in skipper Shadab Khan led Pakistan to a consolation 66-run victory in the third and final Twenty20 international on Monday in Sharjah.
Pakistan's revamped team posted a solid 182-7 in 20 overs after losing the first two games by margins of six and seven wickets, then held Afghanistan to 116 in 18.4 overs.
After scoring 92-9 and 130-6 in their first two matches, Pakistan's batting performance improved as it scored 182-7 under the direction of opener Saim Ayub.
Then, in his 87th game, Shadab claimed 3-13 to become the first Pakistani and seventh bowler overall to reach 100 T20I wickets.
The aggressive pacer Ihsanullah dismissed Rahmanullah Gurbaz (18) and Karim Janat (nought) before striking Najibullah Zadran in the chin with a sharp bouncer, putting Afghanistan out of the running for the challenging target.
Despite being stable, Najibullah was unable to continue his inning. Azmatullah Omarzai, who replaced Najibullah due to a concussion, top-scored with a 20-ball 21 that included a six and two boundaries.
Ihsanullah had a final score of 3-29.
Usman Ghani scored 15 before being Shadab's 100th T20I wicket and Mohammad Nabi was run out for 17 after making 16 from Rashid Khan and 16.
Tim Southee of New Zealand is currently leading the T20I wicket takers with 134, followed by Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh (131), Rashid of Afghanistan (129), Ish Sodhi of New Zealand (114), Lasith Malinga of Sri Lanka (107), and Mustafizur Rahman of Bangladesh. (100).
Pakistan can find solace in the fact that they tested the depth of their bench by resting regular captain Babar Azam as well as Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Haris Rauf despite losing the series.
Ayub earlier scored a solid 49 off 40 balls, including two sixes and four boundaries, and Iftikhar Ahmed made 31 off 25 balls, including two sixes.
The other two key hitters were Abdullah Shafique (23), who made 28, and Shadab (28).
The bowler of choice for Afghanistan was the spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who finished with a 2-28.
Both matches, played in Sharjah, were won by Afghanistan, the first by six wickets and the second by seven.
The three ODI matches that Afghanistan was scheduled to play against Australia this month in the United Arab Emirates were replaced by the series.
However, Cricket Australia withdrew from the series in opposition to the Taliban government in Afghanistan's ban on women's cricket and education.