Afghanistan v Netherlands, Intercontinental Cup, Sharjah, 2nd day April 3, 2012

Netherlands close in on win

ESPNcricinfo staff

Afghanistan 129 (Mangal 67, Bukhari 6-43) & 111 for 6 (Stanikzai 43, Seelaar 3-21) need another 122 runs to beat Netherlands 133 (Dawlatzai 4-24, Zadran 4-45) ) & 228 (Heggelman 59, Dawlatzai 5-45)

The second day followed the same trend as the first, as 15 wickets fell in the day. However, Netherlands are now firmly in the driver's seat and will look to wrap up the match early on the third day. They are four wickets away from their first victory in the competition.

At the start of the day, the game was in the balance with Netherlands struggling at 138 for 8, a lead of 142. But a late charge by their lower order took the game away from Afghanistan. In what has turned out to be a low-scoring game, a half-century by Tom Heggelman carried Netherlands past 100. A spirited fightback by Afghanistan bowlers then brought them back in the game as five wickets fell for 28 runs. Netherlands were left tottering at 138 for 8. It was then that Peter Borren and Pieter Seelaar, both of them scoring 43, surprised Afghanistan to take the score to 228. Izatullah Dawlatzai took five wickets in his spell after picking up four in the first innings.

Afghanistan came in to bat needing solid performances from their top order in their chase of 233. However, they continued in the same vein as in the first innings as they lost three wickets by the 12th over. Asghar Stanikzai provided some resistance as he shared a 53-run partnership with Nawroz Mangal, the highest in the game, and an intriguing third day looked a possibility. However, the last eight overs of the day saw three wickets go down, including that of Mangal. Seelaar took all the three wickets.