Afghanistan defeated Pakistan by six wickets in the series opener on Friday, their first T20 victory over their neighbors.

Pakistan struggled on a slow and low surface at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after deciding to bat first despite the absence of five rested front-line players, including skipper Babar Azam.

Saim Ayub, Tayyab Tahir, Ihsanullah, and Zaman Khan all made their T20I debuts for Pakistan. However, none of the Pakistan batsmen were able to accelerate on a two-paced pitch and were mainly dismissed softly.

In the absence of stalwart openers Azam and Rizwan, replacements Ayub and Mohammad Haris were unable to judge the low bounce and fell within the batting power play while attempting flashy strokes.

Azmatullah Omarzai pinned Abdullah Shafique without scoring, while Tayyab Tahir, one of four Pakistan debutants, threw a return catch to Rashid Khan. Pakistan were 41-5 in the eighth over when Azam Khan was also out for a duck.

Pakistan was on the verge of matching its lowest T20I total of 74 against Australia in Dubai in 2012, but Imad Wasim top-scored with 18.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman took 2-9, while Fazalhaq Farooqi took 2-13.

In response, Afghanistan rallied back from 45-4 in the 10th over to win by six wickets with more than two overs to spare.