Afghanistan did one half of their job in their pursuit of a 2015 World Cup berth as they beat Kenya by eight wickets in Sharjah, thanks largely to Hamid Hassan’s 4 for 19, and Nawroz Mangal’s unbeaten 52.
Kenya won the toss and elected to bat first, a decision they would come to rue. In the first over, Hassan removed Irfan Karim, followed soon by Obanda’s wicket in the 4th over.
Kenya lost wickets like they were going out of style as some tight bowling from Hassan and Shapoor Zadran kept them in check. In fact, only three batsmen were able to pass double figures, with Maurice Ouma top-scoring with a doughty 24 off 48 balls. Hiren Varaiya’s wicket in the 38th over signaled the end of Kenya’s innings, where they finished on 89.
Afghanistan’s reply, in contrast, was calm and considered as they cantered to 79 without any wicket. Mohammad Shahzad holed out to Dhiren Gondaria of the bowling off Varaiya in the 16th over, followed by Hashmutallah Shadi being removed for a three-ball duck. But by then, Afghanistan had done enough, as they were able to knock off the remaining 9 runs to seal an emphatic eight-wicket win, with 32.1 overs to spare.
“I seriously enjoyed bowling today, 10 overs, 18 runs, four wickets – just missed the five wickets, but that’s alright,” Hassan said after the game. “We got the win and hopefully on Friday we’ll do the same,” he said.
If Afghanistan win their next match against Kenya on October 4, then they guarantee themselves a spot in the 2015 World Cup. If not, they will then have to travel to New Zealand for another chance at qualification.
“If we win on Friday, the whole nation will be celebrating,” Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi said. “We will now try even harder for our next game to play positively.”
Via: ESPN CRICINFO