Day 5: Afghanistan v Maldives at Engineering College: AFGHANISTAN IN CONTROL

  • Afghanistan v Maldives at Engineering Ground START 0330hrs GMT - Maldives still in the hunt for more than credibility, a possible semi-final place awaits. Afghanistan will want to keep the engine purring. Maldives won the toss and have elected to field.
  • Another cold morning here in Kathmandu, intensely foggy an hour ago on the teams' arrival here at the Engineering College ground, the pitch invisible from the boundary, but the vapour's burning off now and play will start on time, in 15 minutes amid hazy sunshine.
  • Afghanistan's XI shows one change from yesterday's game against Bhutan, Mirwais Ashraf RFM is benched and Dawlat Zadran RMF comes in. Hamid Hassan will be unleashed again for the semi-final
  • Maldives XI: Moosa Kaleem (Captain), Ahmed Faiz, Hassan Ibrahim, Husham Ibrahim, Mohotte Jayakody, Shafraz Jaleel, Mahafooz Mohamed, Neesham Nasir, Hassan Haziq, Jilwaz Rasheed, Abdulla Shahid
  • Hassan Ibrahim RFM to open from the Bagmati End, Karim Sadiq RHB and Shabbir Noori RHB the Afghan openers. Very much an Afghan morning conditions-wise, cold and dewy. Will it be a Maldives-morning action-wise?
  • Karim and Shabbir playing each ball on its merits and Karim, in particular, not doing anything crazy. End of the over, Afghanistan 4 for 0 after 1 over
  • BIG APPEAL by Jayakody RFM against Shabbir for lbw, the ball scooting in low, must have been missing. Shabbir responds next ball with a lofted FOUR over mid-off, and then two balls later pulls to long-on for another FOUR, and then next ball, drives on the up, top shot, for another FOUR and Afghanistan are 17 for 0 after 2 overs
  • Karim gets going, deflects a short ball for a misfielded FOUR down to third man and then holds the pose after a typically-struck lofted pull for another FOUR and then cuts the next ball hard for FOUR and Hassan Ibrahim can't bowl short to him!
  • The next ball on a length, Karim manufactures into a flat-batted drive through mid-off for FOUR and the next ball of full-length is defended. Afghanistan 33 for 0 after 3 overs
  • Karim Sadiq is currently the tournament's highest scorer
  • Karim's stated ambition at the start of the ACC Twenty20 Cup was to end it as Player of the Tournament
  • Just one run off the Moosa Kaleem OB first over, Afghanistan 41 for 0 after 5 overs
  • Nesham Nasir RM runs in gamely but Shabbir Noori has plenty of time to pick his spots and is has found the boundary twice off the first three deliveries of the sixth over and Afghanistan are 50 for 0 in the sixth
  • WICKET Neesham strikes, Shafraz Jaleel standing up, takes a good catch as Karim chased a wide one and he goes for 26 off 21, Afghanistan 56 for 1 after 6 overs
  • 'MS' Mohammad Shehzad is the new Afghan batsman
  • Mahafoz SLA is the new bowler at the Bagmati End, will definitely cause the Afghan batsmen difficulties
  • Thing is, Shabbir Noori is an outstanding batsman and is not called 'Lara' by his team-mates for nothing, ends the over with an audacious sweep/pull off the stumps for FOUR and Afghanistan are 65 for 1 after 7 overs, Shabbir 33* off 19 (seven 4s)
  • Neesham Nasir RFM picking up some pace and bowls a good tight over, the ball right at the stumps, angling in, Afghanistan 69 for 1 after 8 overs
  • Mahafooz SLA against Shabbir is a fine battle, a shame it can only last for a maximum of 4 overs
  • Afghanistan 79 for 1 after 9 overs, Shabbir 42* off 26 balls
  • MS Shezad looks like a run-out about to happen, but he is fast between the wickets and is scrambling to the crease just in time
  • Neesham Nasir ends his four overs 1 for 32 off them, Afghanistan 85 for 1 at the half-way stage
  • Mahafooz finds the EDGE of MS Shehzad's bat but it flies through vacant slip
  • MS Shehzad responds with a FOUR, driven with his weight leaning back but his hands flashing hard, through cover, Afghanistan 92 for 1 in the 11th over
  • Moosa Kaleem OB back on, for his second over, at the Patan End
  • Craft against crafty, Moosa to MS Shezad! I'll leave you to establish who's the craftiest!
  • Five off the Moosa over, Afghanistan 98 for 1 after 12 overs
  • WICKET, MS Shehzad doesn't get over a lash on the off-side and Jayakody pouches at point, Afghanistan 98 for 2 at the start of the 13th
  • WICKET Double-strike for Mahafooz this over, Najeeb trapped on the front foot, bat behind pad and Afghanistan's experiment of putting the U-19 player up the order not successful, are 99 for 3 in the 13th
  • Maldives pulling the Afghans back, or at least not letting them get away, Afghanistan 100 for 3 after 13 overs
  • Moosa fizzes one through to pin back Asghar's leg stump, 'a ripper' as Richie Benaud would say, and Afghanistan 102 for 4 now in the 14th, Nawroz Mangal the captain, captain
  • WICKET Moosa again, Asghar lbw, Moosa celebrating even before the decision was given. Awesome stuff by Maldives, looking the Afghans in the eye and bowling not faltering one bit
  • Afghanistan 104 for 5 after 14 overs now, three wickets falling for no run in the space of seven deliveries
  • Abdullah Shahid RFM on now in place of Mahafooz, 4-0-28-2 at the Bagmati End
  • Five runs off the over, and around the tumbling bails, Shabbir Noori has reached a fine 50 off just 35 balls
  • Gulbudin Naib RHB the new batsman, chance to make a bigger name for himself as an all-rounder now
  • Ahmed Faiz SLA on in place of Moosa Kaleem and WICKET strikes as Gulbudin comes down the wicket to whack over leg, 114 for 6 in the 16th over
  • Nabi the man in. Doesn't play daft shots.
  • Afghanistan 118 for 6 after 16 overs, Shabbir 53* off 38 balls
  • Abdullah Shahid finding lift outside off, beats Nabi three times in a row to end the 17th over, Afghanistan 122 for 6 and Shabbir 55* off 40 is not getting enough of the strike for his team's liking
  • Just 27 runs have come off the last five overs for Afghanistan for the loss of five wickets
  • WICKET Ahmed Faiz SLA gets one through the trapped in the crease Nabi. Big Wicket, Afghanistan, 127 for 7 in the 18th over
  • Moosa Kaleem still has an over, he may not bowl it, so well are Faiz and Shahid bowling at the death
  • Afghanistan 128 for 7 with two overs to go and Maldives have done very, very well. Won the respect of the Afghans for sure
  • Moosa Kaleem swaps ends to come back on, Shabbir 58* off 42 will want to go big, men at mid-wicket, long-on and long-off on the boundary
  • Shabbir swats the second ball for FOUR between mid-wicket and long-on and forces a scramble save for two by long-off and then hits a huge SIX over the sightscreen
  • Shabbir Noori now the tournament's highest-scorer with 156 runs in four innings
  • 18 off that Moosa over, someone had to go, bowler or batsman, and it was the bowler. Shabbir on 70* off 46 and with an over to go, Afghanistan are 146 for 7
  • Shabbir plays authentic strokes for his runs, comes down the wicket to drive Afzal Faiz for FOUR through mid-off and then two balls later, does the same, Afghanistan 153 for 7, Shabbir 76*
  • Afzal Faiz gets him in the end though, spin is spin and the ball goes off the under-edge possibly as Shabbir attempts a swivel pull from outside off. WICKET. Dawlat Zadran hits his first ball for FOUR through off, top-shot(!) and Afghanistan finish on 157 for 8 at the end of their 20 overs
  • Afghanistan indebted to Shabbir for their total, was there from first over to the last, has it all as a batsman except maybe that selfishness and greed which demands the strike as much as possible that all the legendary run-scorers have had.
  • Excellent bowling by the Maldives, to go for less than 8 an over against these batsmen is an achievement, to take so many wickets with quality deliveries is a greater one. Their batting may not be of quite the same calibre but, hitters and game sense they have and if Abdulla Shahid, Neesham Nasir, Shafraz Jaleel and Moosa Kaleem come off, the game could go down to the wire.
  • Afghanistan: 157 for 8 off 20 overs (S.Noori 76; M.Kaleem 2-28, M.Mahafooz 2-28, A.Faiz 3-23)
  • WICKET first ball, Gulbadin pins Abdulla Shahid in the crease, beaten for pace, and Maldives are 0 for 1
  • Moosa Kaleem snicks his first ball for FOUR and then unfurls a classy drive, hit on the up, Caribbean style FOUR
  • Moosa didn't know too much about the last delivery, nevertheless bags a single, and Maldives are 9 for 1 after 1
  • Moosa edges through vacant second-third slip off Dawlat Zadran, FOUR, Maldives 13 for 1 in the second ove
  • WICKET Dawlat gets on to fly outside off and Shafraz, attempting a cut is caught behind, Maldives 14 for 2 in the second
  • Dawlat Zadran a good find for the Afghans, tall, rangy, good action, hits the deck hard and close to Hamid Hassan pace
  • Zamir Khan SLA to bowl the third over, Moosa greets him with a drive through cover for FOUR, Maldives 18 for 2 in the third
  • Good over by the young spinner to the Maldives maestro, a good mini-contest between the two developing. Maldives 18 for 2 after 3 overs, Target 158
  • Moosa slams a SIX off the fee hit from Dawlat over mid-wicket and follows up with an inside edge for FOUR and Maldives are 38 for 2 at the end of the fourth over, Target 158
  • 20 off that last over, and if your best available fast bowler goes for that many, how much will the rest go for?
  • Moosa winning this mini-battle with young Zamir Khan SLA, a four through point and then a blast over long-on, way over long-on for SIX, and Maldives are 51 for 2 after 5 overs, Target 158. Moosa Kaleem 39* off 21 (six 4s, two 6s)
  • Still a long way to go but Maldives are well ahead of the required run-rate, started the innings needing 7.9 an over now need 7.1 an over
  • Sami Shenwari LB on for Afghanistan, midwicket and deep-extra on the boundary for him. And just 1 off the over, Maldives 52 for 2 after 6 overs, Target 158
  • Karim Sadiq OB on at the Bagmati End in place of Zamir 2-0-17-0
  • Karim appealing for lbws, making Moosa work hard for his runs. End of a loud over, Maldives 54 for 2 after 7 overs, Target 158
  • Just two off the Sami Shenwari over, sideways spin for him, Maldives 56 for 2 after 8, Target 158
  • Maldives hunting down this 158 well, no alarms, 65 for 2 after 9. 50-partnership in 48 balls between Moosa Kaleem and Jayakody so far
  • Nawroz Mangal on at the Patan End
  • Golden arm WICKET, Moosa plays on, deflecting an off-spinner that pitched well wide of off-stump and Maldives are 66 for 3, Target 158, in the 10th over. Captain gets captain, Moosa 45 off 34 balls
  • WICKET Jayakody (19 off 21) goes, bowled by Nawroz. What he's going to say afterwards is 'I saw Sami beating the bat on the outside edge and not hitting anything, I thought I'd come on and beat the inside edge and hit something.' Maldives 68 for 4 at the half-way stage, Target 158
  • Hassan Haziq RHB and Afzal Faiz RHB the brand new batsmen for Maldives. Asking a lot of them
  • Especially against Mohammad Nabi OB. Haziq's middle and off are toppled by Nabi's third ball, Maldives 69 for 5, Target 158. We're in the 11th over
  • Now that his captain's made it easy for him, and got rid of his nemesis Moosa, Zamir Khan SLA comes back on. This time at the Patan End
  • Three off the Zamir over, Maldives 73 for 5 after 13 overs, Target 158
  • WICKET Afzal goes, caught miscuing a drive, Nawroz calls and pouches, Nabi the bowler, Maldives 73 for 6 in the 14th
  • FOUR through midwicket by Jilwaz to get off the mark, Maldives 77 for 6 in the 13th over, Target 158
  • Another FOUR to Jilwaz, inner half of the bat to square leg off Zamir SLA and Maldives are 84 for 6 in the 14th over, Target 158
  • WICKET Neesham bowled by Nabi, for the bowler's third and Maldives are being squeezed out of the reckoning here, 88 for 7 in the 15th, Target 158
  • MS Shehzad and Sami LB back in the action, a sweet stumping to send back Jilwaz and Maldives 90 for 8 now at the start of the 16th, Target 158
  • Nabi runs to the bowler's end! Ahead of the umpire to whom he waits to hand his hat. No way does he want Nawroz taking him off!
  • Wants those last two Maldives wickets in his last over for a 5-for
  • And gets one of them WICKET Husham leg-before and Maldives are 90 for 9 with three balls of the 17th over to go.
  • Maldives 90 for 9 after 17 overs, Target 158. Nabi finishes with 4-0-10-4
  • Mahafooz still defiant, FOUR square driven off Sami Shenwari LB at the start of the 18th over
  • Possible MS Shehzad drop off the last ball of Sami Shenwari's over, Mahafooz survives. Maldives 95 for 9 with two overs to go, Target 158, Sami 4-1-8-1
  • WICKET Nawroz has had enough and finishes it himself, Hassan Ibrahim lbw and AFGHANISTAN HAVE WON BY 62 RUNS
  • Good performance by Maldives with the ball, all but for a few overs and Shabbir Noori whose innings of 76 held Afghanistan together, several of their batsmen still to be in the runs (footwork). For a while, with that 52-run partnership between Moosa and Shafraz for the Maldives third-wicket it looked like a close finish was on the cards but then Moosa played on to Nawroz and it was a procession thereafter. Afghanistan 8.5/10 with the ball, 7/10 with the bat.

ACC Twenty20 Cup, Day 5
Group A: Afghanistan v Maldives at Engineering College
Maldives won the toss and elected to field
Afghanistan: 157 for 8 off 20 overs (S.Noori 76; M.Kaleem 2-28, M.Mahafooz 2-28, A.Faiz 3-23)
Maldives: 95 all out off 18.2 overs (M.Kaleem 45; N.Mangal 3-3, MM.Nabi 4-10)
Player of the Match: Shabbir Noori (Afghanistan)

Tournament page

Filed December 7th, 2011