Afghanistan Beats Oman, Boosts Hope For Asia Cup T20 Qualifiers

cricket players Afghanistan

The Afghan cricket team on Saturday beat Oman by three wickets, reinvigorating their hopes of qualifying for the main round of the Asia Cup T20 in Bangladesh.

The star of the show was Dawlat Zadran, who clubbed two consecutive sixes in the final over bowled by left-arm spinner Ajay Lalcheta as Afghanistan chased down 166 with three balls to spare, reported ESPN.

Oman, seeking a repeat of their performance over Hong Kong, opted to bat and was powered by the opening combination of Zeeshan Maqsood (52) and Jatinder Singh (23).

Adnan Ilyas, the No. 3 batsman, built on the firm base to score an enterprising 27-ball 54 comprising three fours and four sixes. But his dismissal in the 17th over proved to be the difference between where Oman eventually finished and where they would have liked to finish, reported ESPN.

Gulbadin Naib, the medium-pacer, was the most economical, taking two wickets and conceding just 24 runs.

Noor Ali’s second-wicket stand of 54 off just 4.4 overs with Asghar Stanikzai, the captain, helped them steer clear of the asking rate, reported ESPN.

But the dismissals of Stanikzai and Karim Sadiq, the top-scorer in their loss to United Arab Emirates on Friday, threw a spanner in their works courtesy of Mehran Khan as Afghanistan slipped to 60 for 3. The medium-pacer took another wicket soon after to leave Afghanistan wobbly even before they had wiped out half the target.

Najibullah Zadran set about repairing the innings, conjuring a 21-ball 23. In doing so, he averted a lower-order collapse and brought the difference between runs and balls to just three going into the last four overs. But there appeared to be another twist as Bilal Khan trapped Najibullah and Noor Ali lbw within three deliveries in the 17th over.

With 21 needed off the last two overs, Samiullah Shenwari, who was left out of their tournament opener, hit two successive fours to ease the pressure, taking the game into the final over with 10 needed. The scene was set for Zadran to be a hero.

Afghanistan will face Hong Kong on Monday.

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