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Afghanistan keeps its slim hopes alive

Fast bowlers Mirwais Ashraf and Shapoor Zadran bowl Afghanistan back in contention

Afghanistan keeps its slim hopes alive - Cricket News
Peter Borren waged a lone battle for the Netherlands, with a gutsy 63.
Fast bowlers Mirwais Ashraf and Shapoor Zadran bowled Afghanistan back in contention against the Netherlands in the four-day first-class ICC Intercontinental Cup match in Amstelveen on Tuesday.

The pair took eight wickets between them - Mirwais bagging 4-24 and Shapoor claiming 4-28 - to help Afghanistan bowl out the Netherlands for 132 in its second innings on a weather-curtailed second day at the VRA ground.

Trailing the Netherlands by 71 runs on first innings and needing 207 runs for a remarkable come-from-behind victory, Afghanistan finished the day at 39-2 with opener Noor Ali batting on a sedate 25 not out. With him was captain Nowroz Mangal on seven not out.

Edgar Schiferli bagged the wickets of Ahmed Shah (4) and Mohammad Shahzad (1) to leave Afghanistan needing another 168 runs for a famous victory on a wicket which is still assisting the fast bowlers.

After 20 wickets fell on the opening day on Monday, 12 wickets fell on the second day and that too in 56.1 overs as nearly 34 overs were lost due to rain.

Only four overs were bowled in the first session which saw Nick Statham being trapped in front of the wickets off Shapoor on the very first ball of the second innings.

When play resumed after lunch, Shapoor continued to rattle the Dutch when he picked up the next three wickets as the home team slumped to 22-4. At that stage, opener Wesley Barresi (34) and captain Peter Borren held the innings together. The two batsmen put on 61 runs for the fifth wicket before Mirwais got into his acts.

Mirwais first ended the partnership which was threatening to take the match away from Afghanistan when he disturbed the symmetry of Barresi's stumps and then added the wickets of Atse Buurman and Mudassar Bukhari as the Netherlands collapsed from 83-4 to 84-7.

Borren, however, stood tall and played a gutsy and brave innings of 63 which can prove decisive in the context of the match. Borren faced 70 balls and hit 10 punishing boundaries.

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