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Meeting their match

Raju Gusain | Dehradun |

The Afghanistan cricket team had to struggle to beat a young and inexperienced Uttarakhand side in the two practice matches held in Dehradun so far. The Afghan side arrived in Dehradun on 18 May, for playing a 3-match T-20 series against Bangladesh. Though Uttarakhand is yet to obtain affiliation from the BCCI, the hill state team made the guest team, with international exposure, sweat. Uttarakhand lost both the T-20 practice matches by a small margin ~ less than 30 runs ~ to prove their talent.

The Afghan side played their first T-20 practice match on 23 May. Batting first after winning the toss, the side scored 149 runs for the loss of 7 wickets in the allotted 20 overs. The guest team batsmen struggled against a discipline Uttarakhand bowling and were 90 for 5 wickets in 16th over. A fine knock of 44 runs in 13 balls by Shafiqullah helped the Afghan side reach 149 runs. Uttarakhand managed to score 125, to suffer a 25 run defeat against the Afghanistan team.

The Afghan cricket team is enjoying their stay in Uttarakhand. Speaking about the tour, Afghan cricket captain Mohammad Asghar Stanikzai said, “We are enjoying the sporting facilities and weather in Dehradun. The weather and facilities are much better than Noida.”

The second practice match on 24 May witnessed the Afghanistan side registering a 27 run win against Uttarakhand. The T-20 series between Afghanistan and Bangladesh will start next month. The first match will take place on 3 June , second on 5 June and the last on 7 June before Afghanistan travel to Bengaluru for the one-off test match against India. Dehradun is hosting an international cricket match for the first time. The local players are thrilled with the exposure they are getting by playing with an international team. There is a lot of excitement among sports lovers about the T-20 series.