Afghanistan Crown Twenty20 Berth with Victory

DUBAI — Rampant Afghanistan won the final of World Twenty20 qualifiers against Ireland in style at the Dubai Sports City on Saturday.

By Liaqat Ali

Published: Tue 16 Feb 2010, 12:08 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:31 AM

Afghanistan coasted to an eight-wicket victory with 15 balls to spare to lift the coveted trophy in front of a lively crowd.

Mohammed Shahzad hit a breezy 65 off 46 balls including six fours and one six and captain Nawroz Mangal scored 21 and both the players remained unbeaten.

Chasing a competitive score of 142, Afghanistan started in a confident manner. Karim Sadiq played some delightful strokes and gathered 21 runs in the first two overs.

The first six of the innings came from Sadiq’s bat when he lofted Peter Connel over long on boundary. Sadiq plundered 34 off 16 deliveries laced with four fours and one six. Mohammed Shahzad replaced Sadiq and hit consecutive five fours off the bowling of Connel. Afghanistan raced to 50 in the fifth over. After a flurry of fours in the fifth over, David Johnston bowled a tight sixth over in which he gave away only three runs.

Afghanistan lost their second wicket in 11th over when Noor Ali departed after scoring 16 runs but not before putting his team in a strong position. Noor and Shahzad put on 52 runs for the fourth wicket partnership. Hundred was up in 13th over with Shahzad and captain Nawroz on the crease. Shazad scored his brisk 50 off 37 balls embellished with six fours.

Earlier, Ireland won the toss and elected to bat. They were off to electric start as openers William Porterfield and Niall O’ Brien played some glorious shots and first wicket fell at 42 when Mohammed Nabi got the better of Porterfield who made 20 off 15 with three fours.

The confident Afghans, backed by nearly 10,000 vocal crowd, displayed their skills.

The crowd kept coming ineven at the end of the match to cheer their heroes. Disciplined bowling in the death overs helped Afghanistan restrict Ireland to 142/8.

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat, who presented the trophy to the winning captain, congratulated both teams on their qualification for the ICC World Twenty20.

“It is a great achievement for these teams to make it through to the West Indies,” he said.

“The quality of cricket on display this week has been very high and the competition fierce so Afghanistan and Ireland can rightly feel proud of themselves tonight.

“For Ireland this will be another opportunity to show the world what they can do in an ICC global event while for Afghanistan it will be an adventure into the unknown. Judging by what I have seen during this tournament, they will give some of the Full Members more than a few awkward moments during the event.

“One of the memorable aspects of this event has been the passionate support that Afghanistan and indeed other teams have attracted to this wonderful stadium in Dubai. It has been fantastic to see so many people at Associate and Affiliate cricket matches and it completely surpassed our expectations,” he said.

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