All-round Afghanistan sweep series 3-0

Mohammad Shazad (44) and Najeeb Taraki (40) shared an enterprising half-century stand for the first wicket and the bowlers backed it up with tidy spells as Afghanistan overcame United Arab Emirates (UAE) by 44 runs in Dubai to clean sweep the three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series on Sunday (December 18).

While chasing down a sizeable target of 190, UAE lost the wicket of Mohammad Shahzad (1) in the second over. Shaiman Anwar (56) and Rohan Mustafa (58), however, stitched a breezy partnership of 86 for the second wicket in mere 51 balls as the door was flung open for UAE to script a memorable win. It was Mohammad Nabi who broke the entertaining stand by catching Mustafa off his own bowling.

In the very next over, Rashid Khan castled Muhammad Usman for no score to put Afghanistan in the ascendancy. Rameez Shahzad, too, didn’t last long as he was run out for 15. With wickets falling at the other end and run-rate slowly climbing beyond gettable, Anwar holed out to Nabi. UAE, eventually, finished up with 145 for 8 in their allotted 20 overs. Rashid and Nabi snared three wickets apiece for the tourists.

Earlier, Shahzad and Tarakai shared a breezy alliance of 67 in just 7.5 overs to give Afghanistan a bright start. Imran Haider cleaned up Shahzad and Mustafa prised out Tarakai to raise the spirits of the UAE camp.

UAE continued to chip away at Afghanistan’s line-up and at 144 for 4, the hosts seemed to have pulled things back. Samiullah Shenwari (39), however, played a timely cameo to propel the visitors to an impressive total. Mustafa bagged two scalps for UAE.

Aghanistan won the first two matches of the series in Dubai to inflict a whitewash on the hosts.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 189/5 in 20 overs (Mohammad Shahzad 44, Najeeb Tarakai 40; Rohan Mustafa 2-27) beat UAE 145/8 in 20 overs (Rohan Mustafa 58, Shaiman Anwar 56; Rashid Khan 3-14) by 44 runs.

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