Afghanistan on Monday beat Hong Kong by 66 runs in the Asia Cup T20 qualifiers in Bangladesh.
Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi ensured that Afghanistan stayed in the hunt for the main draw of the Asia Cup, beginning Wednesday. Najibullah scored 60 off 35 balls to lead Afghanistan to 178.
Afghanistan, however, need Oman to beat UAE in the second match of the day Monday to qualify.
ESPN reported that Hong Kong’s openers blasted off in the chase, reeling off 50 by the sixth over. But Nabi soon struck with his third ball to break the thriving stand when he pinned Shah lbw for 29.
Rath and Hayat kept Hong Kong ticking before they collapsed; losing the last nine wickets for only 33 runs, reported ESPN.
Nabi finished with figures of 4 for 17, a match-winning spell that included 12 dots.
Fast bowler Dawlat Zadran put the seal on the win when he had Tanwir Ahmed lbw for a duck. Shapoor Zadran, brought back in place of spinner Amir Hamza, though, managed only one wicket. Each of Hong Kong’s batsmen barring the top three were left nursing single-digit scores, reported ESPN.
The victory, though, was set up by Najibullah who stroked his maiden T20I fifty. His effort gave Afghanistan the impetus in the middle and at the end as they scored 52 from the last four overs. Najibullah hit three sixes off the penultimate over.
Opener Mohammad Shahzad and captain Asghar Stanikzai had done the early running. Stanikzai was brisk, if not as quick as Shahzad, scoring 49 off 35 balls, including four fours and three sixes.
Nabi and Gulbadin Naib were then undone by Aizaz in the 17th over, but Najibullah took charge before Nabi’s off breaks derailed the chase.