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13 February 201513:58

Afghanistan wins thriller against UAE

UAE falls 14 runs short in chase of 308, despite a fighting 86 from Khurram Khan

Afghanistan wins thriller against UAE - Cricket News
Man-to-man, it was a game of equals. Two teams that had locked horns a number of times in the build-up to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 played out a thriller, with Afghanistan beating United Arab Emirates by 14 runs in the teams’ final warm-up fixture at the Junction Oval in Melbourne on Friday (February 13).

Khurram Khan, one of the oldest players in the competition, top scored with 86 as UAE looked on course to overhaul Afghanistan’s 308 for 9 till the 40th over. But then, Aftab Alam, the medium pacer, dismissed Khurram and Shaiman Anwar (3). UAE was bowled out for 294 in 48.2 overs, losing the last five wickets in just 34 deliveries.

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Afghanistan's decision to have all its specialists get a hit bore fruit as each of the ten batsmen got off to starts. But it was the 59-run stand for the fourth wicket between Asghar Stanikzai (33) and Samiullah Shenwari (58) that put the team in a decent position from where it could accelerate.

The lower middle order was shepherded by Mohammad Nabi, the captain, who chipped in with 30, while Najibullah Zadran and Mirwais Ashraf lent the finishing touches with 46 and 34 not out respectively as Afghanistan smashed 82 off the last six overs.

Amidst the carnage, Amjad Javed, the medium pacer, returned figures of 4 for 39 off ten overs, while Mohammad Naved and Krishna Chandran had two scalps apiece.

UAE was off to a rollicking start courtesy its openers – Amjad Ali (26) and Andri Berenger (39) – who smashed 61 in seven overs. The fiery start allowed the middle-order batsmen the luxury of biding their time.

Chandran, at No. 3, batted 80 deliveries for his 49 even as Khurram went hammer and tongs at the other end. They added 81 for the third wicket. Khurram plundered ten fours and two sixes in his 70-ball 86 to keep the side ahead of the asking rate, with support from Swapnil Patil (28) and Rohan Mustafa (24).

UAE kicks off its campaign against Zimbabwe in a Group B clash in Nelson on February 19, while Afghanistan begins two days later against Bangladesh in a Group A clash in Canberra.