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Afghanistan crowned Intercontinental Cup champs

Stanikzai’s men post 10-wicket win over UAE to top table with 121 points, Ireland finish second
Team Afghanistan

Afghanistan romped to the ICC Intercontinental Cup title, defeating United Arab Emirates by 10 wickets on the fourth and final day of the contest at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

After the seventh and last round of matches, Afghanistan finished on top of the eight-team table with 121 points, while Ireland settled for the second spot with 109 points.

On being asked to follow on the third day, UAE resisted and reached 201 for 3 to give itself an outside chance to save the game, but was shot out for 331 in 100.3 overs on Saturday, trailing Afghanistan’s tally of 510 for 9 declared by 19 runs.

Afghanistan's openers past the mark without much trouble with Ihsanullah scoring an unbeaten 16-ball 18, while Javed Ahmadi played second-fiddle and remained unconquered on 2.

The UAE batsmen looked out of their depth in trying to deny Afghanistan the crowning victory. Rameez Shahzad, who extended his overnight score of 18 to 46, raised hopes but once Zahir Khan removed him, Afghanistan ran through the lower-order.

Saqlain Haider, who resumed the day on nought, managed only nine before perishing. Shahzad was the next to fall. Muhammad Usman displayed some stomach for fight with 28, but Rashid Khan, the leg-spinner who claimed three in UAE's first innings, took control of proceedings from there.

He struck thrice in four balls to reduce the home side from 296 for 5 to 296 for 8. Afghanistan would have sniffed an innings win, but an enterprising 38-ball 41 by Adnan Mufti helped UAE avoid that.

On Friday, Rohan Mustafa and Chirag Suri, the openers, forged a 146-run opening stand to script a strong response after their side was asked to follow-on, but after they were dismissed, Afghanistan made inroads regularly.

Rashid finished with 5 for 83. Mohammad Nabi and Zahir Khan took two apiece to restrict UAE.

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