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Afghanistan stuns the Netherlands

In one of the most thrilling finishes in the history of the ICC Intercontinental Cup, Afghanistan held its nerve to beat the Netherlands by one-wicket

In one of the most thrilling finishes in the history of the ICC Intercontinental Cup, Afghanistan held its nerve to beat the Netherlands by one-wicket on the penultimate day at the VRA ground in Amstelveen on Wednesday.

Afghanistan had resumed its second innings at 39-2 while needing another 168 runs to achieve its 207-run target. And it reached victory when number-nine batsman Samiullah Shenwari (25 not out) slashed guided Mudassar Bukhari over slips for a boundary with more than 24 overs in the third day's play remaining.

The result gave Afghanistan its maiden first-class victory in just its second match and earned 14 points while the Netherlands had to settle with six points, having achieved a first-innings lead.

The stars of Afghanistan's performance on the final day were opener Noor Ali, debutant Mirwais Ashraf and Samiullah while for the Dutch, fast bowler Edgar Schiferli finished as the pick of the bowlers with 5-57.

Noor, who scored a century in each innings against Zimbabwe XI last week, followed up his nine-ball duck with a fighting and responsible knock of 56 that came off 127 balls and included three fours.

Noor featured in two crucial partnerships that helped Afghanistan to edge closer to the victory target and set the platform for the lower middle-order batsmen to take some extra risks. For the third wicket with captain Nowroz Mangal (19), Noor added 45 runs and then put on 49 for the fourth wicket with Asghar Stanikzai.

Noor and Asghar (26) departed in a space of eight runs to leave Afghanistan reeling at 119-5 and this soon became 132-6 with the departure of Mohammad Nabi (9). Raees Ahmedzai (26) and Mirwais Ashraf then added 28 runs for the seventh wicket to take the score to 160 before Mirwais (31) and Samiullah progressed to 197. At that stage, the debutant returned to the dressing room, leaving Afghanistan requiring 10 runs for victory with just two wickets in hand.

The final twist in the tale came when Shapoor Zadran became Schiferli's fifth victim when he was out lbw while offering no shot with six runs still required for victory. The last-wicket pair of Samiullah and Hamid Hassan, nevertheless, took nine balls to overhaul the Netherlands' score and achieve one of the most thrilling finishes.


Scores in brief

Netherlands 181 all out, 56.5 overs (Tom de Grooth 54, Nick Statham 35; Hamid Hassan 4-45, Mohammad Nabi 4-52) and 132 all out, 38.1 overs (Peter Borren 63, Wesley Barresi 34; Mirwais Ashraf 4-24, Shapoor Zadran 4-28)

Afghanistan 107 all out, 36.5 overs (Nowroz Mughal 41; Peter Borren 3-21, Pieter Seelaar 3-44, Edgar Schiferli 2-9) and 39-2 (Noor Ali 24 not out) and 209-9,89.3 overs (Noor Ali 56, Mirwais Ashraf 31, Asghar Stanikzai 26, Raees Ahmadzai 26, Samiullah Shenwari 25 not out, Edgar Schiferli 5-57; Pieter Seelaar 2-53)

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