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October 5, 2010
Afghanistan 464 (Mangal 168, Ashraf 80, Otieno 4-99) and 207 (Ahmadi 55, Ngoche 5-39, Otieno 4-44) beat Kenya 160 (Waters 73, Hassan 5-70) and 344 (D Obuya 79, Ouma 68, Hassan 6-87) by 167 runs
Medium-pacer Hamid Hassan single-handedly ended Kenya's resistance on the fourth and final day to give Afghanistan a 167-win and take them to the top of the Intercontinental Cup table. Just 8.1 overs were needed as Hassan bowled Nehemiah Odhiambo and James Ngoche, and trapped Ragheb Aga and Elijah Otieno lbw, to finish with match figures of 11 for 157.
Kenya's lower-order collapse followed a string of determined starts from the top order that enabled them to make a decent fist of chasing 512. Opener David Obuya made a patient 79 while his top-order colleagues, Collins Obuya and Steve Tikolo, played around him. Both scored fifties, adding 90 and 99 respectively with David. Unfortunately for Kenya, none of them were able to kick on and make the big score that was needed if they were to have any chance of victory.
Afghanistan took control of the match after making 464 in the their first innings, built around captain Nawroz Mangal's maiden first-class century, before bowling Kenya out for 160. The 23-year-old Hassan, who was the first Afghanistan cricketer ever to play at Lord's when he represented the MCC against a select Europe XI in June, 2007, did the damage early, taking five of the first six wickets to leave Kenya reeling at 90 for 6.
Kenya's bowlers had rallied on the third day to bowl Afghanistan out for 207, with offspinner James Ngoche picking up his first five-wicket haul, but the result was never in doubt.
Afghanistan will take on Scotland in the final next month, having won five of their six matches in the league phase. Scotland's only loss in the league came against Afghanistan, who beat them by 229 runs. Hassan was the bowling star in that match as well, with almost identical figures of 11 for 154. He is the leading wicket-taker in the Intercontinental Cup with 35 wickets at an average of 21.17 and a strike-rate of 33.8. His teammate, Mohammad Shahzad, is the top run-scorer, having made 736 runs at an average of 81.77.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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