The sixth match of the Super Six stages of ICC World Cup Qualifiers 2018, saw a clash between the bottom-placed team on the points table, UAE and Afghanistan.
A riveting low scoring affair between the two Asian teams at Old Hararians Sports Club, Harare, saw ….. come out triumphant by a narrow margin.
The toss was won by UAE skipper Rohan Mustafa who elected to post a competitive total in front of the spirited Afghans. However, it did not turn out as expected for the Arabs as they lost wickets at regular intervals, posting a paltry total of only 177.
UAE was bundled out in 43 overs, thanks to Afghanistan’s ace spinner Rashid Khan’s five-wicket haul. The number two ranked bowler in the world delivered when needed the most as he conceded only 41 in his nine overs spell and ran through UAE’s batting order.
Rashid Khan was well supported by seamer Dawlat Zadran who clinched three wickets in total, two with the new ball. Chirag Suri played a strange inning for his 22 runs which came off 72 deliveries, decelerating the UAE progress post the loss of skipper Rohan Mustafa.
Shaiman Anwar’s 64 anchored the innings for the United Arab Emirates whereas the finishing flourish was provided by Mohammad Naveed who scored a 20-ball 45, who scored seven boundaries and two maximums. Naveed struck the ball at a rate of 225.
It seemed as if Afghanistan would ease past the UAE score with the kind of batting lineup they possess. Yet, the match turned its head with kind of start the Afghan side received.
The men in blue and red lost the likes of Mohammad Shehzad, Rahmat Shah, Samiullah Shenwari, Mohammad Nabi, and Asghar Stanikzai, withing fifteen overs.
Afghanistan could only post 54 as half their side went back into the pavilion. Naveed continued from where he left, but this time with the ball as he picked up a couple of wickets during the phase.
Qadeer Ahmed also gave equal support to Naveed as he clinched a couple of wickets to wreck havoc in the Afghan camp. However, the game saw a massive turnaround as Gulbadin Naib stood like the Rock of Gibraltar with wickets falling at the other end.
Also, Naib and Najibullah Zadran stitched a match-winning partnership of 124 runs which came off only 15 overs. Naib scored a sturdy 74 off 97 balls while Najibullah Zadran played the standout knock with his counterattacking approach.
Incredibly, Zadran smashed a 64-ball 63 with an innings laced with five boundaries and a couple of maximums, under high pressure.
Hence, in the end, after a major hiccup, Afghanistan sealed a handsome 5-wicket win and clinch a couple of crucial points to keep their hopes alive in the tournament.
United Arab Emirates 177-10 (43);
Shaiman Anwar 64 (87). Mohammad Naveed 45 (20). Rashid Khan 15/41. Dawlat Zadran 3/45
Afghanistan 178-5 (34.3);
Gulbadin Naib 74 (97). Najibullah Zadran 63 (64). Mohammad Naveed 2/37. Qadeer Ahmed 2/38
Afghanistan won by 5 wickets
|United Arab Emirates||4||0||4||0||0||0||-2.381|