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Najibullah Zadran stars in Afghanistan win

Afghanistan chases down Denmark's 145 with 27 balls to spare

Najibullah Zadran stars in Afghanistan win - Cricket News
Najibullah's knock of 61 off just 34 balls powers Afghanistan to victory.
Afghanistan beat Denmark by two wickets in a Group B encounter of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier at the ICC Academy grounds in Dubai on Thursday (November 21). This was Afghanistan’s fourth win of the tournament, and it now lies second on the Group A points table behind Netherlands (on the basis of net run rate).
 
Asked to bat first, Denmark got off to a good start with the openers putting up 67 in 11.2 overs. But it lost quick wickets to sink to 99 for 3 soon after. Kamran Mahmood and Aftab Ahmed then shared an unbeaten stand of 46 in 4.4 overs for the fourth wicket to stabilise the innings as Denmark posted a total of 145 for the loss of three wickets in 20 overs.
 
Kamran Sadiq, Samiullah Shenwari and Mohammad Nabi picked up one wicket each.
 
In reply, Afghanistan lost Noor Ali Zadran, the opener, in just the second over. Denmark tightened its grip on the game as Bashir Shah delivered a double blow in the third over and dismissed both Nawroz Mangal and Mohammad Shahzad in successive balls, leaving Afghanistan struggling at 19 for 3. 
 
Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi then scored 36 runs in 2.5 overs to take the attack to Denmark. That partnership was followed by Shenwari and Zadran putting up 69 in seven overs for the fifth wicket to leave Afghanistan 22 short of victory when Shenwari was dismissed by Kasper Hansen for 21. Afghanistan went on to cross the line with 27 balls to spare and made 146 runs for the loss of eight wickets.
 
Bashir Shah finished with figures of 3 for 34, while Michael Pedersen, the captain, picked up two wickets for Denmark. 
 
Najibullah was named Man of the Match for his knock of 61 off just 34 balls.
 
“The wicket was really good; our target was to chase the total under 14 overs. We lost few wickets in the start in process of trying to achieve that. When I went in to bat, I started off trying to stabilize our situation a bit taking singles and double. My captain and coach told me to hit the loose balls, thankfully I was successful and we won,” he said.
 
Pedersen said the team did well to make it a tough chase for Afghanistan. 
 
"We were probably against one of the best sides in the competition. It was a great performance by the boys; couple of young guys had good runs which I enjoyed watching. We ended up taking eight wickets before they got to victory. They probably were pushing hard to up their run-rate in the tournament, but we had our chances and the boys fought hard in the field.
 
“Our performance is getting better as the tournament is progressing, we are getting there now. It was a very tough first week, getting used to the conditions.
 
“We still have got two games to go. There are still aspects of our game which we are looking to improve upon. As we said before, keyword for us is development, and if we can perform like we did today in our last two games I will be very happy,” he added.
 
Afghanistan is now placed second on the Group B table, having lost just one of its five matches. It will now face Nepal on Friday in Sharjah, while Denmark will play Papua New Guinea at Sharjah on the same day.

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