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Nabi, Shahzad help Afghanistan seize advantage

Side reaches 126 for 1 after bowling Namibia out for 172 on first day of Intercontinental Cup match
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Afghanistan dominated the first day of the International Cricket Council Intercontinental Cup match against Namibia on Sunday (April 10) in Greater Noida, piling on 126 for 1 after bowling out Namibia for 172. 
 
While Mohammad Shahzad (74 not out) was confidence personified at the crease, Mohammad Nabi was the star of the day, snapping up 5 for 25 to help bundle out Namibia in a little over two sessions.
 
After winning the toss and batting first in the four-day match, Namibia started well, the openers putting on a 41-run stand before Nabi, the off-spinner, dismissed Stephan Baard, the captain, for 25. After a few quiet overs, left-arm chinaman bowler Zahir Khan then trapped Zane Green, the new batsman, in front for 7.
 
Gerhard Erasmus came in and struck a boundary straightaway to relieve some pressure off Pikky Ya France, the other opener, and the two strung together a much-needed partnership at a decent clip. But once again, Asghar Stanikzai, the Afghanistan captain, called upon Nabi and he broke the 56-run stand, trapping Erasmus lbw for 23. 


 
Namibia was 109 for 3 at that stage and could have still salvaged the situation, but the innings began to unspool quite rapidly. France watched JP Kotze perish for a duck, before he became Nabi's third victim, chipping a catch to Samiullah Shenwari for 46 off 123 balls. Only Nicolaas Scholtz put up a fight thereafter, remaining unbeaten on 25, as the rest caved meekly.
 
Zahir grabbed two more wickets, while Nabi knocked over the tail to grab a five-wicket haul. Having finished as the highest wicket-taker with 12 wickets in the recently concluded ICC World T20 2016, this was another feather in Nabi's cap.
 
In reply, Shahzad was his usual belligerent self as he reached his half-century off 57 balls. At the other end, Noor Ali Zadran contributed 29 before being trapped lbw by Zhivago Groenewald, but Stanikzai gave Shahzad good support, remaining on 21 not out as Afghanistan went to stumps trailing by just 46 runs with nine wickets in hand.
 
Afghanistan is currently in fifth place in the Intercontinental Cup standings, unbeaten on 21 points, while Namibia is in seventh place.
 
Please click here to review the match in full in the ICC Match Centre

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