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25 July 201518:29

Shenwari, Najibullah lead Afghanistan to fifth place

Nabi pitches in to help them overhaul target after bowlers restrict Oman to 127 for 8

Shenwari, Najibullah lead Afghanistan to fifth place - Cricket News

Najibullah Zadran went past his previous best of 38 in T20Is to score a marvellous 32-ball 44 to take Afghanistan to victory with seven balls to spare.

In a low-scoring thriller at the Clontarf Cricket Club Ground in Dublin, Afghanistan finished fifth in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament after beating Oman by five wickets on Saturday (July 25).

Both teams have already qualified to take part in the ICC World T20 2016 to be played in India.

Sent in to bat, Oman, shaken by a collective effort from the Afghanistan bowlers, posted 127 for 8. Zeeshan Maqsood, who had provided his side with good starts on many occasions during the course of the tournament, fell in the first over, bowled by Dawlat Zadran, the right-arm medium-pacer.

Zeeshan Siddiqui and Khawar Ali tried to consolidate with a second-wicket partnership of 39 off 34 balls before Dawlat struck again in the seventh over, sending Siddiqui back for a 16-ball 18.

That brought Khawar and Jatinder Singh, the highest run-getter for Oman in the tournament, together with Oman on 45 for 2 in 6.2 overs. The duo added 22 more to the total before Afghanistan removed both in quick succession preventing Oman from building any momentum.

Mirwais Ashraf and Aftab Alam then bagged two wickets each to restrict Oman, who had beaten Afghanistan by 40 runs in a Group B clash in Edinburgh earlier in the tournament.

Afghanistan's chase was rattled by the early dismissal of Mohammad Shahzad (0), who had held the side's batting together in the tournament with a tally 199 runs in the previous six matches. Shahzad was caught by Jatinder off the bowling of Rajeshkumar Ranpura, the right-arm medium-pace bowler, in the first over.

Ranpura struck again in his next over, removing Asghar Stanikzai, caught behind for nought. Six balls later, without a run being added to the total, Nowroz Mangal was back in the hut for four. Despite being in pursuit of a low target, Afghanistan now looked in deep trouble, with the score reading 7 for 3 after 3.3 overs.

It was then up to Mohammad Nabi and Samiullah Shenwari to put the innings back on track, and that they did, with a 49-ball stand of 44 for the fourth wicket.

Mohammad Nadeem broke the partnership in the 11th over when he got Nabi to edge one to Sultan Ahmed, the wicketkeeper, who grabbed onto his third catch. But Shenwari and Najibullah were adamant on taking Afghanistan over the line. They took Afghanistan past the 100-run mark in the 17th over with a flurry of boundaries in their fifth-wicket partnership.

Najibullah went past his previous best of 38 in T20Is to score a marvellous 32-ball 44 partnering Shenwari, who finished with an unbeaten 40 off 41 balls to take Afghanistan to victory with seven balls to spare.

The four sides competing for the trophy are Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands and Hong Kong.

To view the full scorecard, please click here.