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10 July 201522:45

Afghanistan rides on Shahzad heroics for second win

Opener smashes 74 off 37 to chase down steep target of 165 in just 17.2 overs against UAE

Afghanistan rides on Shahzad heroics for second win
 - Cricket News

Shahzad put on 43 for the opening wicket with Nawroz Mangal.

Afghanistan rode on a quickfire 74 off just 37 balls from Mohammad Shahzad, its opening batsman and wicketkeeper, to seal a second consecutive win in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015 on Friday (July 10).

Shahzad's knock, which earned him the Man of the Match award, helped Afghanistan chase down a 165-run target against the United Arab Emirates comfortably, getting to 168 for 2 in just 17.2 overs for an eight-wicket win.

This was after UAE, who elected to bat upon winning the toss at the Grange Cricket Club Ground in Edinburgh, put up 164 for 6 in 20 overs, thanks to solid contributions from its top three.

Afghanistan's chase got off to a brisk start, with Shahzad putting on 43 for the opening wicket with Nawroz Mangal in four overs. Mangal was castled by Amjad Javed, the right-arm medium bowler, and Shahzad then combined with captain Asghar Stanikzai to add 56 for the second wicket.

By the time Shahzad was dismissed, he had driven his team to a position of strength, with Afghanistan 99 for 2 in 10.2 overs. Shahzad’s innings had seven boundaries and five sixes.

Samiullah Shenwari joined Stanikzai and the duo finished the job with an unbroken 69-run stand. While Shenwari finished unbeaten on 30 off 23 balls, Stanikzai finished on 44 not out off 33.

"164 was a good score, but we knew we have the batsmen to chase it down," Shahzad said after the match. "Great to have played my part and come back to form. It is a good thing for me, and my team, both. The wicket was a great one for batting. The conditions here do not suit us, so every game we play is an important one."

Both Mohammad Shahzads in the game – the other being UAE’s opener – had a good outing. UAE’s Shahzad combined with Faizan Asif for a 63-run opening stand. Faizan struck a boundary and a six off consecutive Dawlat Zadran deliveries in the first over of the innings to set the tone.

The move resulted in the early introduction of spin, with Mohammad Nabi bringing on his off-breaks from the other end. However, he was taken for 14 runs.

Zadran made up for the first over with an excellent maiden but that was about it as runs flowed freely thereafter. Shahzad brought up the fifty of the partnership in the sixth over with a boundary behind square. Afghanistan. however, had the much-needed breakthrough in the next over when Mirwais Ashraf had Asif caught.

Thereafter, Afghanistan chipped away at the wickets. Shaiman Anwar, who came in at No. 3, made 35 off 25 balls but a 33-run stand for the fourth wicket between him and Abdul Shakoor, who remained unbeaten on 20, was the highest UAE could manage thereafter.

The regular strikes meant that Afghanistan managed to pull things back as UAE had looked set for a bigger total earlier on. Ashraf (2 for 21 in four overs) and Hamid Hassan (2 for 29 in four), the right-arm pacers, were pick of the bowlers.

Afghanistan will face Scotland next on Sunday, while UAE faces the Netherlands on the same day. Both matches will take place in Edinburgh.