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Hong Kong holds nerve in tense Twenty20 chase

Tanwir Afzal stars with 42 off 22 balls after Asghar Stanikzai’s half-century carries Afghanistan to 162 for 9

Hong Kong holds nerve in tense Twenty20 chase - Cricket News
Aizaz Khan and Waqas Barkat kept their calm towards the fag end to carry Hong Kong past the finish line by four wickets with two balls to spare during a tricky run chase against Afghanistan in the one-off Twenty20 International at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday (November 28).
 
Afghanistan, opting to bat first, rode on the back of Asghar Stanikzai’s half-century and cameos from Samiullah Shenwari (34) and Shafiqullah (30) to put on a respectable 162 for 6 from 20 overs.

 
Hong Kong’s response did not get off to a great start, as Kinchit Shah and Anshuman Rath fell within the Power Play overs. Two more wickets fell, with the team score at 89 before Nizakat Khan and Tanwir Afzal put on 55 crucial runs for the fifth wicket. Their partnership came at a rate of 11 runs per over, and that swung the momentum back in Hong Kong’s favour.
 
Nizakat made 26 before Aftab Alam accounted for him in the fifth ball of the 17th over. Off the first ball of his next over, Alam dismissed Afzal, who made a 22-ball 42.
 
With two big wickets in a space of six runs, Afghanistan was back in the game. But, Aizaz and Barkat made 14 runs in 1.3 overs to seal victory in 19.4 overs.

 
Earlier, Afghanistan got off to an unpromising start when it lost Mohammad Shahzad with just four runs on board. It was hit by another jolt when Usman Ghani fell to Haseeb Amjad. Then came a period of rebuilding as Stanikzai and Karim Sadiq (22) carried it to 50 before Kareem fell to Aizaz.
 
Afghanistan then realised its most successful phase as Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari added 63 runs for the fifth wicket. Stanikzai made a 37-ball 51 before being run out in the 15th over. At that stage, Afghanistan was 113 for 4. Shenwari too was run out for 34, but Shafiqullah’s 16-ball 30 helped Afghanistan add 49 runs in the last five overs.
 
Hong Kong, however, had the reserves to just get over the line.

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