Shahzad stars as Afghanistan secure big win against Namibia

A sensational 139 by Mohammad Shahzad, his second consecutive hundred in the tournament, helped Afghanistan thump Namibia by a massive margin of an innings and 36 runs in their ICC Intercontinental Cup clash at the Greater Noida Sports Complex, Noida. The win on Tuesday (April 12) helped Afghanistan move to the third place in the points table, behind Ireland and Netherlands.

Nothing went right for the men from Africa once they elected to bat after having won the toss. The visitors came unstuck against the spin of Mohammad Nabi, collapsing from a healthy 109/2 to 172 all-out. The offspinner, who enjoyed plenty of success and emerged as the highest wicket-taker in the recently concluded T20 WC 2016, finished with impressive figures of 5-25 – with only opener, Pikky Ya France, offering some resistance. The 25-year old right-handed batsman stroked seven boundaries in his 46, but was part of the collapse that saw Nambia lose the advantage of a crucial toss.

Afghanistan’s replay was led by Shahzad who blitzed 15 fours and a six in his innings. He was involved in useful stands with Noor Ali Zadran (29) and skipper Asghar Stanikzai (37). Wicket-keeper batsman, Afsar Zazai chipped in with a handy unbeaten 49 as the hosts finished with 334, a healthy lead of 162 runs. For Nambia, medium pacer, Gerrie Snyman, was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with impressive figures of 4/78.

If Namibia’s first innings effort was below par, their second knock with the bat was even worse. Ya France stood tall once again amongst the ruins, scoring 40, while the rest of the batsman fell around him. He was the seventh to be dismissed, with the team’s score on 123, and the rest of the batting folded meekly.

Namibia were eventually bundled out for 126, losing by a humiliating margin of an innings and 36 runs. Zahir Khan, the 17-year left-arm chinaman bowler, was the pick of the bowlers in the second innings, finishing with 5-31.

Afghanistan next travel to Stirling where they face hosts, Scotland, in the next round of the tournament, from June 2 onwards. Meanwhile, Namibia will host Hong Kong in their next encounter, starting from May 10 at the Wanderers Cricket Ground in Windhoek.

Brief scores: Namibia 172 (Pikky Ya France 46; Mohammad Nabi 5-25) & 126 (Pikky Ya France 40; Zahir Khan 5-31) lost to Afghanistan 334 (Mohammad Shahzad 139, Afsar Zazai 49*; Gerrie Snyman 4/78) by an innings and 36 runs.

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