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Canada 178 for 6 (Bagai 52, Nabi 2-23) beat Afghanistan 177 (Nabi 62, Chohan 4-43) by four wickets
Afghanistan's fairytale run of success finally crashed down to earth with a chastening four-wicket defeat to Canada in the second match of the series in Sharjah. They never recovered from a disastrous start that saw Khurram Chohan destroy the top order, leaving Afghanistan floundering at 4 for 3 by the third over, on his way to match-winning figures of 4 for 43.
It was due reward for Chohan who's four wickets in the opening fixture so nearly took Canada to victory. He started the day by claiming Shafiqullah Shafiq and last game's centurion Mohammad Shahzad in his first over, before following it up with Nowroz Mangal and debutant Shabir Noori to leave Afghanistan 38 for 5 and in utter disarray.
He was well supported by Rizwan Cheema and Umar Bhatti, who took two wickets each with their nagging seamers. It was only a 51-run sixth-wicket stand and Mohammad Nabi's well-constructed 62 that gave Afghanistan any semblance of respectability. Nabi played in the way he does best, belting five sixes and three fours during his 57-ball stay. Dominating a last-wicket stand with Aftab Alam, the pair added 49 to take Afghanistan to 177.
It didn't look enough and despite being reduced to 35 for 2 after 10 overs Canada were careful not to undo their good work. Sandeep Jyoti and captain Ashish Bagai, who richly deserved a win after making an unbeaten 91 in the first game, worked the ball around nicely during an 82-run stand that all but sealed the game. Jyoti made a patient 38 before he fell to Aftab Alam, while Bagai continued his good form striking five boundaries during his 59-ball 52.
Nabi threatened to cause a late scare when he took two wickets in the 35th over, reducing Canada to 144 for 6, still 34 runs short of the target, but Jawad Dawood came out and immediately arrested the momentum and any hopes of a fightback. He crashed 25 from 19 balls to give Canada their first win of the series.
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Assistant editor Sahil Dutta grew up supporting England during the 90s. Despite this, he still enjoys the game. His unrequited passions for Graeme Hick and, in latter years, Vikram Solanki gave him a stoicism that guided him through an Economics degree and a stint working at the European Parliament. He maintains the purest love for Tests and the whims of legspin bowling and still harbours hope that he could be the answer to England's long search for a mystery spinner. As it is, his most exciting cricketing experience was planning a trip to Australia for the 2006-07 Ashes with two utterly indifferent friends. Unfortunately his lung collapsed shortly before his planned departure and the pair were left to wander around from Test to Test, unprepared and clueless. Any comparisons with England are far too obvious to make. That cancelled holiday inspired an Ashes blog which led, via some tea-making at the Wisden Cricketer, to the ESPNcricinfo towers.