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January 31, 2010
Afghanistan 185 for 5 (Karim Sadiq 69) beat Canada 96 for 2 (Cheema 39) by 8 runs (D/L method)
Afghanistan prevailed in a rain-affected game at Colombo, with Canada falling 8 runs behind the required Duckworth/Lewis score as they reached 96 for 2 in 12 overs. Afghanistan's total of 185 for 5 was thanks largely to the efforts of Karim Sadiq, who top-scored with 67 on Twenty20 debut before two powerful cameos by captain Nowroz Mangal and Mohammad Shahzad boosted Afghanistan's total.
Sadiq and Noor Ali got the better of Canada's bowling attack in the first of the Afghan innings, cruising to 76 in the tenth over before Ali picked out Rizwan Cheema off Sunil Dhaniram's left-arm spin. Sadiq proceeded to his half-century, clearing the boundary twice along the way, but with almost seven overs remaining in the innings he fell to Khurram Chohan.
Chohan also accounted for Raees Ahmadzai before Mangal and Shahzad went ballistic, thrashing 44 runs in under three overs. Both were dismissed in consecutive overs, but by then the damage had been done and Canada faced the prospect of a stiff run chase.
Cheema, opening the batting with Trevin Bastiampillai, lofted five sixes in his 39 to set the pace of Canada's innings before he was trapped lbw by legspinner Samiullah Shenwari. With his dismissal Canada's innings lost momentum, however, and Abdool Samal and captain Ashish Bagai failed to hit a single boundary in their 27-run partnership. With 90 runs required off the final eight overs the match looked set for an explosive denouement, but the weather intervened to seal the result in Afghanistan's favour.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?