12 July 2015
PREVIEW: Afghanistan, Kenya in battle of unbeaten teams
Afghanistan has flexed batting muscle while the Kenyan batting is yet to hit top gear
Afghanistan has won its all three matches so far to top the group with six points.
Afghanistan has won its all three matches so far to top the group with six points. It beat the Netherlands by 32 runs in its tournament opener, followed it up with an eight-wicket win over the United Arab Emirates and then defeated Scotland by 37 runs on Sunday.
The win over Scotland was particularly impressive after its batsmen, led by Mohammad Shahzad’s belligerent 36-ball 75 and handy contributions from Asghar Stanakzai, Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi, powered the team to 210.
Led by Nabi and Hamid Hassan, who took three wickets each, the bowlers defended the record total with a degree of comfort. And with that all-round effort, Afghanistan has laid down an ominous marker for other sides in tournament.
Kenya, which is just a rung below Afghanistan in the group having played only two games thus far, will attempt to win its third match on the trot, having put in a solid performance against Canada in its tournament opener and squeaked past Oman on Saturday.
Ruvindu Gunasekera and Rizwan Cheema, the Canada openers, put on a quick 83 before Kenya fought back with James Ngoche and Nelson Odhiambo taking two wickets apiece. It required a stunning unbeaten half-century from Irfan Karim, who ended with a 54-ball 74, to take Kenya through to a seven-wicket win.
Ngoche shone against Oman too, taking 3 for 25 in a successful attempt to defend a 143.
Given that bowling is a particular strength for both sides, it may boil down to how the respective batsmen fare. The Afghanistan batsmen have held their own in all three matches, but Kenya will need its misfiring top order to bounce back strongly on Monday.
Afghanistan: Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Javed Ahmadi, Aftab Alam, Mirwais Ashraf, Sharafudin Ashraf, Hamid Hassan, Nawroz Mangal, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Mohammad Shahzad, Samiullah Shinwari, Dawlat Zadran, Najib Zadran, Shahpur Zadran.
Kenya: Rakep Patel (capt), Emmanuel Bundi, Narendra Kalyan, Irfan Karim, Karan Kaul, Lucas Ndandason, James Ngoche, Shem Ngoche, Collins Obuya, Eugene Ochieng, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Nelson Odhiambo, Elijah Otieno, Morris Ouma, Gurdeep Singh.