Pakistan survived a scare from Mujeeb Ur Rahman, the batter, to claim a series whitewash over Afghanistan and with it the No.1 spot in the ICC men’s ODI team rankings.

Pakistan came into the series knowing that only a 3-0 win would be enough to overtake Australia at the top of the rankings, and achieved exactly that. They defended a low total in the first game in some style, bowling Afghanistan out for 59. In the second, too, they were made to sweat, with Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran putting up a double century opening stand before Pakistan won a thriller by one wicket with a ball to spare.

The third looked like being the most routine of the lot, with Pakistan putting up 268-8 on the back of half-centuries from Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam before reducing Afghanistan to 97-7. However, every game in this series has featured twists and turns, and so perhaps it was no surprise that one came, even if the eventual 59-run margin was comfortable enough.

Still, the source of the attempted comeback was a shock. Mujeeb Ur Rahman walked in at No.9 with a top score of 27 in more than 300 professional games and an ODI average of 6.15, and proceeded to whack a 26-ball half-century, finishing with five fours and five sixes to his name. The dismissal was as baffling as the innings itself, falling hit wicket for 64 off 37. While the rate always looked just out of reach, Pakistan were relieved to see the back of him.

Shaheen Shah Afridi wrapped up victory, and a place at the summit, soon after, and Pakistan will start their Asia Cup campaign against Nepal on Wednesday, August 30, as the top team in the world. They previously held the title in May.

Australia are second in the rankings, with India third, New Zealand fourth, and world champions England fifth.