All-round Afghanistan level series
Afghanistan 143 for 4 (Stanikzai 55*, Shahzad 37, Tikolo 1-7) beat Kenya 139 (Mishra 32, Ouma 31*, Shenwari 3-29, Dawlatzai 2-37) by six wickets
Afghanistan's bowlers put up another spirited display to dismiss Kenya cheaply in the second ODI in Nairobi. The batsman didn't let them down, chasing down the target of 140 in quick time. Led by Asghar Stanikzai's unbeaten half-century, the Afghanistan batsmen recovered from a poor start to level the three-match series with six wickets to spare.
Afghanistan were struck a blow in the second over of the chase when opener Noor Ali Zadran had to retire hurt. In the next over, allrounder Thomas Odoyo removed the other opener Karim Sadiq. When Nehemiah Odhiambo bowled Nawroz Mangal soon after, Afghanistan were in danger of collapsing again, like in the first ODI when they had been shot out for 88.
However, Stanikzai ensured there would be no repeat of that performance with an aggressive knock. He first steadied the innings with wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad, adding 53 runs for the third wicket. Shahzad dominated that stand with a strokeful 37. He took Odhiambo for three fours in the eighth over, pulling him twice through midwicket and then driving him through cover. The introduction of spin got Kenya the breakthrough, as offspinner James Ngoche got Shahzad to hit one straight to captain Jimmy Kamande at midwicket.
Stanikzai, on 20 off 34 deliveries at the time, took charge after Shahzad's dismissal, getting to his second ODI half-century in 60 balls. Though Mirwais Ashraf fell cheaply to Steve Tikolo, Mohammad Nabi ensured there were no further worries for Afghanistan, smashing four fours in an Odhiambo over to bring up victory with 23 overs remaining.
The win had been set up by a disciplined bowling performance, after Kenya had elected to bat. Afghanistan's decision to open with offspinner Mohammad Nabi worked when he got David Obuya to edge to Stanikzai at first slip in his second over. Izatullah Dawlatzai, the fast bowler making his ODI and List A debut, bowled the other opener Seren Waters, and then removed Collins Obuya, who was looking in good touch.
Legspinner Samiullah Shenwari ran through the middle order, flighting the ball and getting it to turn on his way to 3 for 29 in ten overs, including the wickets of top-scorer Tanmay Mishra and Tikolo. Two late run-outs didn't help Kenya, as they collapsed from 84 for 3 to be bowled out for 139. The last five batsmen could not reach double-figures, leaving former captain Maurice Ouma stranded on 31.