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Afghanistan leapfrog Ireland in ICC Intercontinental Cup with one round to go

Afghanistan
Innings victory against Hong Kong gives Afghanistan the top spot

Afghanistan have reclaimed top spot in the ICC Intercontinental Cup table after cruising to a comprehensive innings and 173 run-victory against Hong Kong in the final match of round six. 

Afghanistan (101 points) now sit in pole position with one round to go, their nearest rivals Ireland are on 12 points behind in second place. In the race for the title, Ireland need an outright win to secure 14 points against Scotland in round seven to stand a chance of retaining the trophy. 

Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan's five-wicket haul and Javed Ahmadi's century were the foundations of the comprehensive victory, as Hong Kong were bowled out for just 142 in 47 overs in their first innings. 

For Hong Kong, after Dawlat Zadran had accounted for Matt Stiller (6) early, Christopher Carter (21), Babar Hayat (39) and Nizakat Khan (16) fell to the 19-year-old Rashid. Hong Kong slumped to 97 for seven wickets inside 33 overs. Waqas Khan (23) and Waqas Barkat (23 not out) added some runs later in the innings, before Rashid returned to finish off the innings with his haul of five for 65. 

In reply, Ahmadi and Ihsanullah Janat shared a 124-run opening-wicket stand to put Afghanistan in the driver’s seat. The two scored at a good pace before Anshuman Rath dismissed Ihsanullah (63). Ahmadi scored 108 from 113 balls, which included 16 fours and two sixes. Captain Asghar Stanikzai scored 125 from 129 balls, and along with notable contributions from Ihsanullah Jannat (63), Rahmat Shah (57) and Mohammad Nabi (63), helped amass a lead of 323. Afghanistan declared on 465 for five in their first innings. 

A disciplined effort from the Afghanistan bowlers saw Hong Kong bowled out for 150 in 39.4 overs in their second innings on the second day of the four-day encounter. (59 not out) was the only batsman to post a significant score. Nabi, the offspinner, struck twice to remove Waqas Khan (8) and Ehsan Khan (8). Zahir Khan, the leg-spinner, took over by prising out the lower order with swift strikes. He finished with figures of four for 16, while Nabi, Dawlat and Rashid chipped in with two wickets each, as Afghanistan celebrated a huge victory. 

Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai said: 

“We had hoped to win the match by an innings and wrap up the match quickly to get maximum points, so everything went according to the plan. We are looking forward to the round seven matches, where we can hopefully beat the UAE and win the ICC Intercontinental Cup." 

Round seven fixtures take place in the United Arab Emirates between 29 November and 2 December 2017 to crown the winner of the ICC Intercontinental Cup. 

Hong Kong v Afghanistan

20-21 October

Afghanistan won by an innings and 173 runs 

Hong Kong

142 all out in 47 overs (Babar Hayat 39, Waqas Khan 23; Rashid Khan 5-65)

150 all out in 39.4 overs (Anshuman Rath 59, Nizakat Khan 26; Zahir Khan 4-16) 

Afghanistan

465-5 in 88 overs (Asghar Stanikzai 125, Javed Ahmadi 108; Nizakat Khan 1-42)

ICC Intercontinental Cup standings

TEAMS

MAT

WON

LOST

TIED

DRAW

ABAN

PTS

Afghanistan

6

5

0

0

1

0

101

Ireland

6

4

1

0

1

0

89

Netherlands

6

2

2

0

2

0

52

United Arab Emirates

6

2

3

0

1

0

47

Scotland

6

0

1

0

4

1

46

Papua New Guinea

6

2

3

0

1

0

43

Hong Kong

6

1

3

0

1

39

Namibia

6

1

4

0

1

0

27

 

ICC Intercontinental Cup round 6 fixtures and results
Hong Kong v Afghanistan, Mong Kok – Afghanistan won by an innings and 137 runs – Hong Kong 142 and 150; Afghanistan 465-5d
Ireland v Netherlands, Dublin – Match drawn - Ireland 477-6d and 240-7d; Netherlands 375 and 186-4
Namibia v United Arab Emirates, Windhoek – UAE won by 34 runs – UAE 269 and 157; Namibia 212 and 180
Papua New Guinea v Scotland, Port Moresby – Match drawn - PNG 404 and 263-3; Scotland 514

ICC Intercontinental Cup round 7 fixtures
Hong Kong v PNG, Sharjah – 29 November – 2 December
UAE v Afghanistan, Sheikh Zayed Stadium Abu Dhabi - 29 November – 2 December
Netherlands v Namibia, ICC Academy 1 Dubai - 29 November – 2 December
Ireland v Scotland – Dubai International Cricket Stadium - 29 November – 2 December

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