Gul removes Noor Ali after brisk start
Nawroz Mangal marked Afghanistan's biggest moment yet as a cricketing nation by winning the toss in Sharjah, and deciding to bat against a full-strength Pakistan side. Shahid Afridi returned to the scheme of things, as did the under-fire allrounder Shoaib Malik who has struggled to make an impact in recent times. The other notable inclusion was left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz, recalled for his first international since May 2011.
Afghanistan will be hamstrung by the the absence of Hamid Hassan. Left-arm spinner Hamza Kotak was handed a debut, but there were few other surprises in the XI.
The last time an ODI was staged in Sharjah, the pitch was slow and Pakistan successfully defended 200 on the back of Afridi's all-round heroics. The strip for this match, however, was flat and shiny, promising runs for batsmen who can hit through the line. Nevertheless, the inexperienced Afghanistan line-up will face a tough time against Pakistan's well-rounded attack.
Pakistan: 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Imran Farhat, 3 Younis Khan, 4 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 5 Asad Shafiq, 6 Shahid Afridi, 7 Umar Akmal (wk), 8 Shoaib Malik, 9 Saeed Ajmal, 10 Umar Gul, 11 Wahab Riaz
Afghanistan: 1 Karim Sadiq, 2 Noor Ali Zadran, 3 Nawroz Mangal (capt), 4 Mohammad Shahzad (wk), 5 Mohammad Nabi, 6 Gulbodin Naib, 7 Mirwais Ashraf, 8 Shamiullah Shenwari, 9 Hamza Kotak, 10 Dawlat Zadran, 11 Shapoor Zadran