Riding on some entertaining knocks by Mohammad Shahzad (45) and Hazratullah Zazai (33), Afghanistan posted 160/5 against Namibia in a Super 12 stage match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, here on Sunday.
Apart from Shahzad and Zazai, Asghar Afghan (31) and Mohammad Nabi (32) also played vital innings for Afghanistan.
After winning the toss and opting to bat first, openers Hazratullah Zazai and Mohammad Shahzad gave Afghanistan a solid start. Between the two, Zazai was more aggressive and he scored the majority of the runs inside the first six overs.
Zazai set the ball rolling with a four and a six in the first over, taking on Ruben Trumpelmann who erred in his line and length twice and was punished. JJ Smit and David Wiese kept things quiet in the next two overs, but once Trumpelmann was back into the attack, Zazai once again took the attack to the left-arm seamer with two more fours.
Afghanistan made up for the two sedate overs, with Zazai and Mohammad Shahzad smacking a six and a four each in the next two overs to take Afghanistan’s Powerplay score to 50.
However, as soon as fielding restrictions were lifted, JJ Smit gave Namibia the much-needed breakthrough as he got rid of Zazai. Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who came to bat next, did not last too long at the crease as he missed the sweep completely and was trapped in front by Loftie-Eaton, leaving Afghanistan to 68-2 after 9.5 overs.
Asghar Afghan, who is playing his last match for Afghanistan today, came and joined Mohammad Shahzad in the middle. Shahzad welcomed Loftie-Eaton with a six in his third over, as both the batters continued to rotate the strike and kept the scoreboard ticking.
Shahzad’s entertaining knock of 45 finally came to an end in the 13th over. The opener tried to scoop the ball over a short fine leg but he was caught at fly slip. From there, Asghar and Najibullah Zadran hit occasional boundaries. But to score quickly, Zadran got out in the 16th over, leaving his team at 113-4 after 15.4 overs.
With around four more overs to go, two experienced campaigners Asghar Afghan and Mohammad Nabi had the responsibility to finish well for their side and they didn’t disappoint. Both Afghan and Nabi scored freely in the last few overs and took Afghanistan to a strong total of 160/5 in 20 overs.
Afghanistan 160/5 in 20 overs (Mohammad Shahzad 45, Hazratullah Zazai 33; Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton 2/21) against Namibia