Afghans cruise into T20 World Cup
KABUL (PAN): Maintaining their unbeaten run, Afghanistan on Thursday inflicted a 46-run defeat on Namibia in the ICC World T20 Qualifier final at the Dubai Sports Stadium in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), an official said.
As a result of their convincing victory in the 1st Qualifying Final, the winners -- most of whom have learnt cricket in refugee camps -- found their way to the tournament proper to be played in Sri Lanka from September 18 to October 7.
Opting to bat first, the national side scored 147 in the stipulated 20 overs before reducing the opposion to 99 in 18.1 overs, Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) spokesman Nusratullah Wafa told Pajhwok Afghan News over the telephone from Dubai.
Aftab Alam and Dawlat Zadran bowled fiery spells, capturing four and three wickets respectively and handing their team a comfortable triumph. Zadran bowled a tidy line and length in the important encounter, conceding only five runs in 3.1 overs.
Zadran dislodged Namibia openers Raymond van Schoor and Gerrie Snyman for ducks in the very first over. The opposition never recovered from the shock and was bundled out for 99.
The Afghans marched inexorably into the qualifying final after scoring a seventh consecutive win on Tuesday and emerging Group-A leaders in the event, featuring 16 sides.
Karim Sadiq hit 28 runs, Javed Ahmadi 24 and Asif Stanikzai 19 for Afghanistan, Wafa said, adding Zadran was adjudged the Man of the Match for his superb bowling figures.
Skipper Nawroz Mangal, happy with the team’s spirited performance, particularly praised Zadran and Alam for their aggressive bowling. He said their gameplan for the final had paid off.
In Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, Afghanistan’s win triggered celebrations in the Pakhtunistan Square area. A large number of cricket fans danced to drumbeats.
ABC Chief Executive Nasimllah Danish, meanwhile, congratulated the squad on its “historical achievement”. He hoped the team’s morale would stay high in the events ahead.
In another one-sided match, Ireland crushed Canada by 10 wickets and the Netherlands defeated Scotland by three wickets.
On Friday, Ireland and the Netherlands clash in Sharjah. The winners will take on Namibia on Saturday for a second spot in the World T20 Cup.
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