Afghanistan v Hong Kong, Asia Cup 2016, Mirpur February 22, 2016

Najibullah, Nabi lead Afghanistan to big win

ESPNcricinfo staff
41

Afghanistan 178 for 7 (Najibullah 60*, Stanikzai 49, Aizaz 3-38) beat Hong Kong 112 (Rath 41, Nabi 4-17) by 66 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

File photo - Najibullah Zadran smashed two sixes in the penultimate over of Afghanistan's innings © AFP

Career-best T20I performances from Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi ensured that Afghanistan stayed in the hunt for the main draw of the Asia Cup, but only briefly as UAE won the second match later in the day. Najibullah muscled 60 not out off 35 balls to lead Afghanistan to 178, which they defended with ease, thanks to Nabi's four-for.

Hong Kong's openers blasted off in the chase, reeling off 50 by the sixth over. But Nabi soon struck with his third ball to break the thriving stand when he pinned Kinchit Shah lbw for 29. Anshuman Rath and Babar Hayat kept Hong Kong ticking before they collapsed in a heap; losing the last nine wickets for only 33 runs.

Nabi used his flight and variations in pace, having three batsmen holing out to big hits. He finished with figures of 4 for 17, a match-winning spell that included 12 dots. Nabi was complemented by the googlies and quick fizzers of 17-year old Rashid Khan who scalped two wickets. Fast bowler Dawlat Zadran put the seal on the win when he had Tanwir Ahmed lbw for a duck. Shapoor Zadran, brought back in place of spinner Amir Hamza, however, managed only one wicket. Each of Hong Kong's batsmen barring the top three were left nursing single-digit scores.

The victory, though, was set up by Najibullah who stroked his maiden T20I fifty. His effort gave Afghanistan the impetus in the middle and at the death as they took 52 from the last four overs. Najibullah was particularly severe on seamer Aizaz Khan, plundering two sixes off the penultimate over; both sent sailing over cow corner.

Opener Mohammad Shahzad and captain Asghar Stanikzai had done the early running. Shahzad unleashed his familiar hoicks and swipes during his 14-ball 24 before falling in the fourth over. Stanikzai was brisk, if not as quick as Shahzad, scoring 49 off 35 balls, including four fours and three sixes.

Nabi and Gulbadin Naib were then undone by Aizaz in the 17th over, but Najibullah took charge before Nabi's offbreaks derailed the chase.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Haqmal111 on February 24, 2016, 4:55 GMT

    Nobody is complaining about migration but the point is: almost all the players in Oman/UAE are non-Omani, non-UAE citizens. They play for the national team as part-time cricketers while being employed in their full-time jobs - they are simply expatriates who have no root/no citizen or permanent residency status in Oman or UAE. To allow teams like these to play in major tournaments while not allowing teams with full-set of native/citizen players (i.e. Nepal and Afghanistan) is not good as by having UAE and Oman play in major tournaments, cricket is not gaining anything.

  • Haqmal111 on February 24, 2016, 4:53 GMT

    would love to see namibia,png and nepal instead of hk,uae and oman، because they have support back home and they have the nationallity of the countries that they represent not like UAE Oman and Honkong that are represented by players who are living their by passport

  • TMA11 on February 23, 2016, 15:07 GMT

    England should not be allowed in international tournaments by this logic shown by some of you. They are adoptive natives of the country and are helping the game expand. Please just let them be. Also, if these so called full national teams that have the dedication and pride to play for their nation can't defeat these expatriate mercenaries, why should they be allowed to compete with top level internationals???

  • Zahirshah on February 23, 2016, 5:25 GMT

    Afghanistan is a far better team then UAE in T20 format, if you guys don't believe this, then wait for a T20 series between these two teams, One match can't declare the best among them, and if you guys think that UAE is better than Afghanistan, then Afghanistan should be better than BD bcoz they were beaten by Afghans in the last edition of Asia cup, if top eight teams are qualifying directly to the world cup 2019, then why the hell Ranking is not considered in Asia cup, Nepal is better then Oman and UAE, they had beaten Afghanistan and HK in last T20 WC, but they are not even in the qualifying round, this is what you guys call it justice,? we are saying that a direct entry had to be given to Afg, bcoz they beat BD in last Asia cup and their ranking is good than BD, we are not saying that BD should go through qualifying round,but along with Afg five teams should have played this Asia cup, but anyway CONGRATULATION to UAE, for beating AFG and qualifying to the main round....

  • Zahirshah on February 23, 2016, 4:52 GMT

    feeling sad for Afghanistan.....

  •   Kamal Ahmed Sakeeb on February 23, 2016, 4:41 GMT

    would love to see namibia,png and nepal instead of hk,uae and oman.

  • Anil_Koshy on February 23, 2016, 3:54 GMT

    ICC killed cricket in Kenya, they will kill cricket in Nepal and Afghanistan, people in Nepal and Afghanistan follow the game but presence of Expats XI teams like UAE and Oman will block their progress, ICC should do something to stop the game from dying in Afghanistan and Nepal, those who support UAE should look at the composition of the side and see if there is any change in last 20 years.

    UAE 2016 team Rohan Mustafa (UAE), Amjad Javed (UAE), Mohammad Naveed Saleem (UAE), Ahmed Raza (UAE), Muhammad Burhan (Pakistan), Mohammad Shahzad (Pakistan), Shaiman Butt (Pakistan), Muhammad Usman (Pakistan), Saqlain Haider (Pakistan), Swapnil Patil (India), Qadeer Khan (Pakistan) UAE 1996 World Cup Team Syed Azhar (Pakistan), Ganesh Mylvaganam (Srilanka), Sheikh Mazhar Hussain (Pakistan), Vijay Mehra (India), Mohammad Aslam (Pakistan), Arshad Laeeq (Pakistan), Johanne Samarasekera (Srilanka), Sultan Zarawani (UAE), Imtiaz Abbasi (Pakistan), Shaukat Dukanwala (India), Shahzad Altaf (Pakistan

  •   Misbah Mohammed on February 22, 2016, 20:39 GMT

    afghans n nepal should have been given direct entry with the 7th and 8th spot being fought for by the other associates with no player from the country. And its t20 so it will be close and not boring with very low scores like 50 over matches. Plus everyone has time for t20 so why not increase the competition? I agree with the with the fact that teams like nepal and afghan have more scope of improvement and passion as their own countrymen represnt the teams unlike other associates.

  • m23khan on February 22, 2016, 19:59 GMT

    Nobody is complaining about migration but the point is: almost all the players in Oman/UAE are non-Omani, non-UAE citizens.

    They play for the national team as part-time cricketers while being employed in their full-time jobs - they are simply expatriates who have no root/no citizen or permanent residency status in Oman or UAE.

    To allow teams like these to play in major tournaments while not allowing teams with full-set of native/citizen players (i.e. Nepal and Afghanistan) is not good as by having UAE and Oman play in major tournaments, cricket is not gaining anything.

  • WardakAfg. on February 22, 2016, 18:34 GMT

    No big deal guys. It is just a T20 Asia cup. Win or loss is part of the game. Would love to see Afg. against UAE in the T20 2016 World cup!

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