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09 July 201522:10

Solid Afghanistan takes full points

Strong middle-order, bowlers set up convincing 32-run win over Netherlands

Solid Afghanistan takes full points - Cricket News

Afghanistan celebrate a wicket.

Afghanistan’s middle-order came up with a belter of a display and the bowlers put on a clinical effort as it notched up a 32-run win over Netherlands in its opening Group B encounter of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015 in Edinburgh on Thursday (July 9).

Asked to bat, Afghanistan stuttered to 50 from 8.5 overs and 100 from 15.4 overs, but strong efforts from Samiullah Shenwari, Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran ensured a solid 162 for 7 from 20 overs.

"It’s always bad to lose the first game but this is cricket. You have good some good games, you have some bad games and we have a good chance to come back in the next games," said Netherland's Ahsan Jamil. "They played really well today. Personally I think I’m in quite good space, the way I’m bowling. We should stick to the way we play and just come back hard.

Netherlands kicked off its reply on a good note and made the most of Afghanistan’s wayward bowling at the start, but the bowlers, helped by a good fielding effort, turned the screws on the batsmen as the game progressed and bowled out Peter Borren’s men for 130 in 19.4 overs to notch up a convincing victory.

Netherlands was on top of proceedings at the start as Mudassar Bukhari and Timm van der Gugten kept things tidy from both ends. Roelof van der Merwe too put some pressure on Afghanistan’s top order to reduce it to 39 for 3 from 6.5 overs.

Afghanistan, however, began showing the first signs of aggression when Shenwari and Nabi put their heads down and got to work, using the pace of the ball. Shenwari made 44 from 42 deliveries and Nabi contributed 33 from 29 deliveries. That set the stage and Najibullah cashed in by slamming 33 from only 11 deliveries with four sixes. Shafiqullah too contributed with a 3-ball 13 to inspire a shift in momentum.

Ahsan Jamil finished with three wickets but conceded 36 runs. Bukhari was the most economical of the lot that finished the quota of four overs, conceding 25 runs for his two wickets. Van der Merwe had two scalps to his name.

Netherlands, in response, looked in no trouble at the start as Stephan Myburgh and Michael Swart dispatched the bad balls without too much fuss. The loss of Myburgh made no difference as Ben Cooper came out all guns blazing en route to his 36, but it was what followed that Netherlands will be disappointed with most.

Sharafuddin Ashraf, the left-arm spinner, dismissed the dangerous Cooper and accounted for two more wickets to reduce Netherlands to 106 for 6. Nabi complemented him nicely with 2 for 26 from four overs.

Caught in the melee of wickets, Netherlands lost its way entirely as it slumped to 118 for 9 before Dawlat Zadran scalped Michael Rippon, his third of the game, to signal Afghanistan’s winning start.

"Happy to win the first game but still a lot of matches to go," said Sharafuddin Ashraf. "I just wanted to stick to line and length. We have plans for the Twenty20 World Cup in India as well. We are very confident, we’ve worked really hard. We’ll try our best to perform well."

To see the full scorecard of this match, please click here.