Afghanistan v Canada, Intercontinental Cup, Sharjah, 4th day February 23, 2010

Afghanistan chase down 494 with Shahzad double

Cricinfo staff

Afghanistan 264 and 494 for 4 (Shahzad 215*, Nabi 80, Mangal 70*) beat Canada 566 and 191 for 4 dec by six wickets

There is no challenge too daunting for Afghanistan at the moment. Riding the momentum that led their charge to qualification for the World Twenty20, Mohammmad Shahzad's unbeaten 215 helped them pull off a sensational chase of 494 to beat Canada by six wickets in the Intercontinental Cup at Sharjah.

It was the ninth highest fourth-innings run chase in first-class cricket, which means Afghanistan now top the Intercontinental Cup table and can credibly lay claim to being one of the strongest Associate nations. That they would even be in a position to draw this match seemed unlikely after Canada racked up 566 batting first before rolling Afghanistan over for 264. It left Afghanistan facing a 302-run first-innings deficit, which, it turned out is the highest ever in a first-class game by a side batting second who went on to win.

A more likely prospect at the beginning of the day was survival, but 18-year-old Shahzad shared two century stands, first with captain Nowroz Mangal and then Mohammad Nabi, that set up and all-but sealed the victory which came with 2.2 overs to spare.

Having watched the openers lay a solid foundation, Shahzad and Mangal patiently constructed a third-wicket stand of 163, taking few risks, running hard and picking off the occasional boundary to keep the target, still unlikely, at least in sight.

When Mangal was eventually dismissed, caught and bowled by Ramesh David, there was still 212 needed, with approximately 37 overs left in the day. Yet such is the confidence running through the veins of Afghanistan cricket that they promoted the big-hitting allrounder Nabi up from No.8 to No.5.

Following on from his lusty, unbeaten 48 in the first innings, Nabi was slightly more dexterous to begin with on this occasion. Working the ball around and running hard to start with he then crashed successive boundaries off Khurram Chohan to bring up his 50 and signal Afghanistan's intent for the mammoth chase.

Together with Shahzad the pair added 178 in a little under 30 overs, with Nabi smiting Hiral Patel for a six over long on and a four to deep square-leg to take him into the 90s before he was smartly caught on the long off boundary two balls later.

His replacement, Asghar Stanikzai, only hastened the chase, clubbing his second ball out of the ground. With Shahzad continuing serenely to pass his double century from 242 balls, Stanikzai hit another six before sealing the victory by smashing Nitish Kumar through point for four. Yet again, Afghanistan have proved inspirational and the celebrations will reverberate all the way back to Kabul.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rehman on February 24, 2010, 11:49 GMT

    This is absolutely amazing and incredible. They are wonderful and praiseworthy. Like other local Afghans they learnt this game as a refugee in Pakistan with out having the basic facilities. In a very shour period of time they emerged as a rising star in the cricketing world despite the fact that they do not have even a small cricketing ground at home. Technically and financially they need a lot of help from ICC, ACC, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladishi cricket boards. Because the history this team is making is not just for Afghanistan, it is for the whole Asian countries.

    As compared to UAE and Candaian teams whose players mostly come from other countries, Afghanistan cricket team is more appreciable. They are in dire need of coaching services of international standards. They need time to flourish technically. My prayers are with my national team for further successes in the upcoming events.

    We are proud of them. Zina Abad Afghanistan!

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2010, 10:11 GMT

    Love you Afghanistan cricket team, i am proud to be an Afghan, congratulations to all afghans, thank you all those who has given great comments and have supported our team and afghanistan, i appreciate you all, i am very happy today, that i can't express my happiness in my words, they(cricket team) really helped in raising Afghanistan's name in the world, that was really an unbelievable win!!!! in last I kindly request ICC to build a stadium in Afghanistan, coz there is no stadium in Afghanistan.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    That is really really amazing. Way to go, Afghanistan. There's some serious talent there!

  • Salahuddin on February 24, 2010, 8:01 GMT

    The word DRAW does not exsit in Afghan dictionary. They successfully managed to chase the huge target of 494 and proved that they are on the verge of becomming one of the best teams. They deserve to be given ICC test status. Chasing 494 in fourth inning and getting it , is not some thing you see every day.

  • Zia on February 24, 2010, 7:26 GMT

    We are surely proud of our team, but it ICC and Cricket boards of other nations especially Indian Cricket Board should support the government of Afghanistan to work on the gross root of the cricket in Afghanistan , so that stars can be produced in the future.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2010, 6:54 GMT

    That is really a surprising win! We request ICC to look for their infrastructure and financial supports. Their dramatic victories has made lost of people to become fan of them. I trust they can beat India and SA in the forthcoming T20 :)

  • Rajit on February 24, 2010, 6:00 GMT

    Mohammad Shahzad is 18!!! Doesn't look like....anyways..he deserves a pat for a monumental innings to chase down 494... Some comments on this article had a regional and religious flavour to it....but as cricket fan I have been following Afghan team since last year or so and honestly their rise to the top of the associate nations is incredible.It's certainly exciting to see new teams,new talent come up the ladder...I think ICC along with some of the stronger cricket boards should help these new nations like Afghanistan,Ireland,Holland,Canada develop the game at the grass root level.Also these teams should be invited to play in the domestic tournaments of Eng,Aus,Ind, SA etc.This will make Cricket a Global sport in true sense.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2010, 5:40 GMT

    what a win! an unbelivable win for afghanistan and the whole afghan nation. all afghan should be proud and be united. this is a great example of unity team work and doing some thing for your country. This is my request to all afghans around the world and in afghanistan, to be united and work as a one unit for your country, and you will write history as ur cricket team did.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2010, 5:27 GMT

    Salam to Every body and Many Many thanks to All mighty ALLAH,

    Thanks for posting your comments and praising Afghanistan team. As an Afghan I am proud of my Team, they made an identity for Afghanistan in sports and specially in cricket. I request from ICC to help us and our team financially and technically. we need help to improve more as our players has the capability to shock the world. we need ground, we need assistance technically, and financially. I also ask our government to give them some honor and please don't ignore them. As was ignored before. they have made Afghanistan nation proud. Thanks for the support.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2010, 5:16 GMT

    congratulation afghanistan once again.i am proud of this kind of performance specialy shehzad he is briliant as he win the final of T20 and yesterday he shines again and as well as mangal and nabi which is my faviorit they also support well. shafiullahmateen thanks

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