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Aga restricts Afghanistan to give Kenya the edge

Sixteen wickets fall on first day of the intercontinental cup match, Afghanistan trails by 93 runs with four wickets remaining

Aga restricts Afghanistan to give Kenya the edge - Cricket News
Ragheb Aga celebrates with teammates after taking one of his three wickets.

After back-to-back losses at the World Cricket League Championship in Sharjah last week, Kenya had something to cheer about on Sunday (October 6) after restricting Afghanistan to 69 for 6 on day 1 of its ICC Intercontinental Cup tie at the ICC Academy in Dubai. The rightarm pacer Ragheb Aga was the star of the day, taking 3 for 12 off his 6 overs.

Earlier, after being inserted by Afghanistan, Kenya’s batsmen struggled to find form. With no contributions of note coming from the top-order, Kenya found itself in a familiarly precarious position of 84 for 8. With Nehemiah Odhiambo (35), who had been the top-scorer until that point, also having departed, it looked like Kenya would have to be content with double figures. But thanks to a late surge and two partnerships of 41 and 37 runs respectively for the last two wickets, Kenya managed to get itself to a respectable total of 162. The leftarm spinner Hiren Varaiya scored 35 crucial runs, along with Shem Ngoche, who chipped in with 26. Elijah Otieno played an important role at number 11 and remained unbeaten on 15 off 54 balls.

In a collective effort by the Afghanistan bowlers, Izatullah Dawlatzai and Sayed Shirzad, who opened the bowling, Yamin Ahmadzai and Mohammad Nasim Baras, took two wickets each. Fazal Niazai and Javed Ahmadi helped themselves to a wicket each.

In reply, the Afghanistan batsmen overturned the good effort of their bowlers as they failed to get any good partnership going. It quietly slipped to 69 for 6. While Aga took three wickets, Shem Ngoche, Elijah Otieno and Nelson Odhiambo chipped in with a wicket each. Rahmat Shah, who came in at number 3, remained unbeaten on 24, and would hold the key to Afghanistan’s chances on day three.

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