Afghanistan v Hong Kong, World T20, Group A, Chittagong

Shahzad, Shafiqullah power Afghanistan to seven-wicket win

The Report by Mohammad Isam in Chittagong

March 18, 2014

Comments: 69 | Text size: A | A

Afghanistan 154 for 3 (Shahzad 68, Shafiqullah 51*) beat Hong Kong 153 for 8 (Barkat 32, Chapman 38) by 7 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


Gulbadin Naib gets under the ball in the outfield, Afghanistan v Hong Kong, World T20, Group A, Chittagong, March 18, 2014
Mohammad Shahzad struck six fours and three sixes in his 53-ball 68 © AFP
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Mohammad Shahzad is Afghanistan's most prolific Twenty20 batsman by a long way. His recent form had been quite poor, as scores of 7, 22, 0, 22 and 0 in his last five innings would indicate. He broke this peculiar streak by hammering 68 off 53 balls as Afghanistan rushed to a seven-wicket win over Hong Kong.

The garnish on the win was provided by Shafiqullah, touted the T20 specialist by captain Mohammad Nabi. He blasted 24 runs off the 17th over, bowled by Aizaz Khan, and later helped himself to 11 off Haseeb Amjad in the following over to ensure Afghanistan won with two overs to spare.

A 150-plus chase looked tricky but Shahzad timed his innings perfectly. He made sure Afghanistan didn't stutter from the early loss of Najeeb Tarakai, who couldn't clear the midwicket boundary in the third over. Shahzad added 55 runs for the second wicket with Asghar Stanikzai, who scored slowly, but kept one end tight.

Shahzad survived two dropped catches in the sixth over, though, and three in total. Captain Jamie Atkinson and Aizaz missed him with differing degrees of difficulty. Aizaz's chance was a sitter at mid-on. The other drop was in the 15th over when Tanwir Afzal misjudged a chance at third man.

Shahzad continued in his merry way, having already struck a boundary past the wicketkeeper's right with a ball that struck the back of his bat. Stanikzai fell in the eleventh over, after which Shahzad reached his fifth T20 international fifty. Two balls later, he struck the shot of the day, a helicopter shot, over the midwicket boundary, and didn't he love it.

Irfan Ahmed made up for his second first-ball duck in the tournament with a stunning catch at deep extra-cover to get rid of Shahzad, but Afghanistan were on top of the situation. Though Nabi walked to the crease at that point, it was Shafiqullah who finished it in some style - making an unbeaten 51 off 24 balls.

Hong Kong finished on 153 for 8 in 20 overs, a marked improvement from their meltdown against Nepal. But their start must have made them worry about a repeat of Sunday night. Irfan missed Shapoor Zadran's inswinger off the first ball of the innings, the same point at which he had been out to Paras Khadka in the previous game.

But Waqas Barkat and Atkinson hit back soon after, taking 16 off the fourth over, bowled by Gulbadin Naib. Atkinson blasted boundaries through the off-side field and one straight down the ground. He also pulled a four and a six, over midwicket, his best shot in a very short innings. He was trapped leg-before by Hamza Hotak a ball after he had struck his fifth boundary, in the fifth over.

Barkat kept his shape well at the other end, despite the two losses. He built a 60-run stand with the fidgety Mark Chapman, Barkat scoring at a run-a-ball and letting Chapman have more of the strike.

Chapman started off very well but just after he had cracked one through the covers, Dawlat Zadran floored him with a quick bouncer. Chapman had looked to charge him, and although he dusted himself and got up quickly, Chapman needed the physio's attention immediately.

He ended up with the top score, 38 off 43 balls with three fours and a six, coming off legspinner Samiullah Shenwari. Two of his boundaries came through the off-side, and one could easily imagine the sort of talent possessed by this 19-year old.

Barkat got out to Mohammad Nabi, trying to scoop the offspinner. Babar Hayat also fell to Nabi in the 16th over. Chapman gave away his stumps for Zadran to aim at, and he stung his leg pole in the 17th over.

Nizakat Khan and Tanwir Afzal then took over the last three overs, hitting one six each. Nizakat hammered Hotak over extra-cover, the best-looking shot of the innings, while Tanwir top-edged a hoick over third-man in the penultimate over.

The result is effectively the end of the tournament for Hong Kong, while Afghanistan survive for one more potentially pivotal day, March 20.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by expert22 on (March 22, 2014, 21:42 GMT)

Honestly i could only see three batsman in this team. istanikzai almost a good batsman, shanwari,( good allrounder) , Nabi( better captain, good hitter of ball from time to time). so a team with three batsman, is hard to compete against full side. :) cheers

Posted by expert22 on (March 22, 2014, 21:40 GMT)

Afghanistan going to struggle big time again, because of batsmen next time. they should bring new young batsman, no favoritism, justfull selection of players are needed.

i think the afghan cricket borad should take the young batsman for some months or a year atleas, to train in india before going to wc 2015.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 1:54 GMT)

hahahaha...keep your dream with you. long way to go to defeat bdesh again.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2014, 12:49 GMT)

We will have another good win over Bangladesh when we meet in ICC World Cup 2015. Bangladesh won't have huge fan noise as they are having it here in their own home.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2014, 12:15 GMT)

We missed 5 key payers against Bangladesh but when we got four of them back against Hong Kong we showed our class. Respect to Nepal but Afghanistan are too strong for their associates members.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2014, 8:17 GMT)

i love you afghan atalan

Posted by   on (March 19, 2014, 8:16 GMT)

I love you afghanistan

Posted by ahmadzaisaad on (March 19, 2014, 7:30 GMT)

Dear bouncer709 now what is the chance for AFG to qualify if Hong Kong beat BD?, what margin is required to improve their Runs rate above BD.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2014, 7:04 GMT)

Kamal Andewal, with such a horrendous batting lineup, u got some pretty lofty dreams. I agree that AFG might not have facilities but even having facilities it's not easy just to go out and perform immediately. Ur team's batting techniques are all wrong & all batsmen are over 27 28. So obviously u gotta wait for ur next generation to learn some batting which is automatically gonna take 10-12 years. So, guess what there's a difference between dreams & reality.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2014, 6:41 GMT)

This victory refreshed the memories of Afghanistan Team in Form. The previous loss to Bangladesh had disappointed Afghan Fans as we expected too much from our team. It was a good experience for us that we should be well prepared and ready to fight for a place against Test Nations. Hope Afghan team prepares well for the upcoming 2015 World Cup which will be played in Australia on bouncy tracks. The Pacemen of Afghan team are good enough when the conditions favor them and our batsmen can play Fast Bowlers too, so there is always hope. I wish the ICC prepare a series of ODI matches between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe and Afghanistan and PNG who got the ODI status and is a good team too. Playing in PNG will give Afghan team experience of the Conditions for next World Cup.

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