Afghanistan stun Windies to keep hopes alive

Friday, March 16, 2018

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Harare , Zimbabwe (AFP) — Afghanistan Captain Rashid Khan praised “world-class” Mujeeb ur Rahman after the teenage leg-spinner took three wickets in yesterday's three-wicket win over West Indies which kept their hopes of reaching the 2019 World Cup alive.

“He is a world-class spinner and he knows his job,” said Rashid.

“He's capable of bowling against any batsman. We're just trying to give him more confidence.”

Afghanistan bowled 39 overs of spin against West Indies, severely restricting their scoring options on a helpful surface.

No West Indies batsman reached fifty, while aside from Mujeeb, Afghanistan's other spinners — including Rashid — struck at regular intervals.

“Rashid Khan and Mujeeb, they are top, world-class spinners,” agreed West Indies Captain Jason Holder. “There's mystery, and they've caused problems around the world.”

Facing a must-win scenario in all of their Super Six games, having lost their first three group games and scraped through to the Super Sixes by virtue of having a better net run rate than Hong Kong and Nepal, Afghanistan appeared to have set up an easy chase when they kept West Indies to 197 for 8 in their 50 overs.

Two-time champions West Indies opted to bat first, but they were soon in trouble when veteran batsman Chris Gayle misread a googly from Mujeeb, who is still two weeks shy of his 17th birthday.

Mujeeb added the wickets of top-scorer Shai Hope for 43 and Holder to finish with 3-33.

Mujeeb was ably backed up by the rest of Afghanistan's spin attack, with Mohammad Nabi, Sharafuddin Ashraf and Rashid sharing four wickets.

For West Indies, aside from Hope's contribution, veteran top-order batsman Marlon Samuels added 36, while Holder made 28 at better than a run a ball.

Holder himself made some early inroads to dent Afghanistan's chase, removing opener Mohammad Shahzad for eight and then striking later in the innings to finish with 3-39.

He passed 100 ODI wickets for West Indies in the process.

“At the end of the day, our main focus is to win this tournament. Unfortunately we couldn't get across the line today, so I guess it's a bittersweet feeling,” added Holder.

West Indies reduced Afghanistan to 168 for 6, and then 190 for 7 as what should have been a simple chase became a tense battle. But Rashid and Sharafuddin both struck boundaries to see Afghanistan home in the 48th over.

“In the first three matches, we bowled well and we batted well, but we didn't finish well,” admitted Rashid. “That was the only thing missing. But in the last two games we've finished well.”

In Bulawayo, Scotland raced to an imposing 322 for 6 against United Arab Emirates thanks to opener Matthew Cross' second ODI century.

Cross shared in a 161-run stand for the second wicket with Calum Macleod, who registered 78, as Scotland weathered the pressure from UAE's spin attack.

“It got a little bit sticky for a little while, but after that we managed to accelerate and put 320 up,” explained Cross, who was named man of the match for his 114.

Scotland then imparted some pressure of their own, reducing UAE to 117 for 6 inside 20 overs. UAE's lower middle order showed some fight, however, with left hander Mohammad Usman racing to a career best 80 and no. 8 Ahmed Raza reaching his first ODI fifty.

Usman and Raza shared in a 105-run, seventh-wicket stand, and after they fell the tail quickly folded, with Scotland wrapping up their win by bowling UAE out in the 48th over.

Their victory means that Scotland now move to the top of the Super Six points table, with five, ahead of their match against Ireland at Harare Sports Club on March 18.

C Gayle b Mujeeb Ur Rahman 1
E Lewis run out 27
S Hetmyer lbw b Mohammad Nabi
M Samuels c Gulbadin Naib b
Mohammad Nabi 36
+S Hope c Najibullah Zadran b
Mujeeb Ur Rahman 43
*J Holder c Najibullah Zadran b
Mujeeb Ur Rahman 28
R Powell c Mujeeb Ur Rahman b
Rashid Khan 3
C Brathwaite c Rahmat Shah b
Sharafuddin Ashraf 4
A Nurse not out 10
K Paul not out 16
Extras (b1, lb3, w8, nb2) 14
TOTAL (8 wkts, 50 overs) 197
Did not bat: N Miller.
Fall of wickets: 1-12, 2-46, 3-53,
4-108, 5-158, 6-161, 7-166, 8-169.
Bowling: Dawlat Zadran 8-1-44-0,
Mujeeb Ur Rahman 10-1-33-3,
Gulbadin Naib 3-0-11-0, Mohammad
Nabi 10-1-43-2, Sharafuddin Ashraf
9-1-31-1, Rashid Khan 10-1-31-1.
+Mohammad Shahzad c Powell b
Holder 8
Javed Ahmadi lbw b Paul 1
Rahmat Shah c Paul b Nurse 68
Samiullah Shenwari c Gayle b Miller
Mohammad Nabi c Hetmyer b
Holder 31
Najibullah Zadran c Miller b Paul 19
Gulbadin Naib c Powell b Holder 10
*Rashid Khan not out 13
Sharafuddin Ashraf not out 7
Extras (b4, lb1, w9) 14
TOTAL (7 wkts, 47.4 overs) 198
Did not bat: Dawlat Zadran, Mujeeb
Ur Rahman.
Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-17, 3-83,
4-132, 5-152, 6-168, 7-190.
Bowling: Holder 10-0-39-3, Paul 8.4-1-
29-2, Miller 9-0-41-1, Brathwaite 9-0-
39-0, Nurse 9-0-39-1, Powell 2-0-6-0.
Result: Afghanistan won by three
Points: Afghanistan 2, West Indies 0.
Man-of-the-Match: Mujeeb Ur
Toss: West Indies.
Umpires: Ahsan Raza, Michael Gough
TV Umpire: Simon Fry

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