Usman Ghani’s enterprising half-century and combined efforts from the bowlers guided Afghanistan to a 27-run win over Oman in the first Twenty20 International at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Oman came into the game having already beaten Hong Kong 2-1 in the T20I series, but its batting collapsed against a spirited Afghanistan attack.
Afghanistan rode on Ghani’s 54-ball 69 to post 159 for 8. Oman suffered due to a lack of significant partnerships and folded for 132 in 18.1 overs.
After losing Mohammad Shahzad, the opener, in the first over, Ghani put on a 40-run second-wicket stand with Asghar Stanikzai, the captain.
Once Stanikzai was bowled by Ajay Lalcheta, Ghani associated with Karim Sadiq (26) for a 46-run third-wicket partnership.
Ghani then put on useful stands with Samiullah Shenwari (17) and Shafiqullah Naib (14), before becoming Mehran Khan’s third victim of the day. He struck nine fours and a six on his way to 69.
Mehran Khan was the most successful Oman bowler, returning 3 for 30 in three overs.
Afghanistan’s bowlers kept chipping away regularly. The Oman batsmen found it tough to put together any partnership of note and were reduced to 97 for 7 in 14.5 overs. Barring Adnan Ilyas (34) and Sultan Ahmed (27), none of the other batsmen managed to get past 19.
Sayed Shirzad was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 16 in just three overs, while Yamin Ahmadzai, Rokhan Barakzai and Shenwari claimed two wickets apiece.
The two sides will play the second T20I at the same venue on Tuesday