Afghans book place in ICC Intercontinental Cup
Namibia won the toss on Sunday morning and got off to a good start after electing to bat, the Afghanistan Cricket Board’s spokesman Farid Hotak told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Openers Xander Pitchers and Pikky Ya France added 49, but Shapoor Zadran dismissed Pitchers for 22 as captain Mohammad Nabi ripped the heart out of their top-order and took the final two wickets to end with career-best figures six for 33 from 17.2 overs of off-spin.
All-rounder Rahmat Shah supplemented Nabi’s bowling haul by taking two important middle-order wickets. Afghanistan then closed day one on 62 for one with former skipper Nawroz Mangal unbeaten on 51; Shabir Noori the man to depart for an obdurate eight off 89 balls.
On the day two, the Afghans lost three for 18 including Mangal for 59, but Stanikzai hit his maiden first-class ton and added 79 with Samiullah Shinwari (32) for the fifth-wicket and 48 with Mohammad Shahzad (34) for the sixth.
Afghanistan took the game completely away from Namibia as Stanikzai shared 108 runs partnership with Dawlat Zadran, who reached 50 for the first time in his first-class career and helped Afghanistan close the second day on 345 for eight as they took the six points for first innings lead.
Stanikzai fell to the eighth ball of the third morning as Namibia wrapped up the innings quickly for 354. Left-arm spinner Bernard Scholtz was the pick of the bowlers with five for 123, while there were a brace of wickets apiece for Jason Davidson and Sarel Burger.
Namibia, trailing by 164 runs on first innings, were unable to muster much of a fight in their second innings.
Openers Noori and Mangal took just seven balls to knock off the five runs that were required to complete the 10-wicket win.
Afghanistan will take on Kenya in their final group match and need only two points to qualify for the final against Ireland.
The two teams will now contest a brace of 50-over World Cricket League Championship matches on 9th and 11th August. The competition serves as a qualifying tournament for the 2015 ICC World Cup, with Afghanistan able to get in the thick of the action with a brace of wins.
Namibia are already out of the reckoning for a top two finish; their hopes for 2015 now resting with the World Cup Qualifier in 2014 which will decide the tournament’s remaining entrants.
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