Afghanistan's Karim Sadiq

Singapore didn’t repeat their mistake of the day before. Today at Sharjah, they won the toss and batted and their opener Chetan Suryawanshi was off to a flyer. Left-arm seamer Shahpour Zadran is fast, even faster than his colleague Hamid Hassan but Chetan smacked two fours and a six off the first over from Shahpour. There’s a frenzy to Shahpour’s bowling that is thrilling to observe, and though he can be erratic, in the words of Shoaib Akhtar, “pace is pace, yaar.”

Hamid Hassan’s pace on this wicket is a little less but his guile is more. He cut his pace, kept the ball just back of a length, and found that little bit of cut off the pitch that sets him apart as a class act. He bowled Chetan in his first over, and then next had Chaminda Ruwan done through the gate. And three balls later, after pinging a bouncer to Singapore titan Munish Arora, had him bowled by a fullish delivery. Hamid Hassan: head and heart. Hero.

Hamid Hassan 1, Munish Arora 0

After 5 overs Singapore were 29 for 4 and rebuilding. Reaching 100 looked a long way away once Buddhika Mendis, who had made an excellent 50 against UAE the day before, was out at the end of the 8th over to put Singapore on 41 for 5.

Afghanistan have pace, they also have spin in Mohammad Nabi and Sami Shenwari, who tormented the Singapore batsmen. Sami Shenwari bowling perhaps the ball of the day, a leggie which looped in to Riaz Hussain, drew him forward, pitching on leg and then turning away sharply to have him stranded two feet outside the crease.

They change their pace brilliantly do Nabi and Sami, their pace, their angles, their flight. Batting against them is difficult.

The last over from Shahpour was as expensive as his first, 15 runs coming off it, no balls and wides proliferating, and Singapore capitalized to finish on 96.

Singapore started with their slower bowlers, in order to contain the potentially rampant Afghans who thrive on pace, but Karim Sadiq and Noor Ali Noori were never really troubled. After 5 overs Afghanistan were 27 for 0.

Karim survived a few-run out calls and was dropped at mid-off when on 22 and survived a difficult chance a few overs later but by the half-way stage he was on 45 and Afghanistan were 65 for 0. Karim passed 50 next ball with a six over mid-wicket. 22 came off that Shoib Razzak over, the last deliver hit over by Karim over the mid-wicket stand. Just 10 were wanted at the end of it, and they were knocked off soon after though Karim didn’t make it to the end, falling for 68 off 39 deliveries. The little man’s with bat, ball or even the wicket-keeping gloves he dons from time to time, is irrepressible and is an emblem of everything that is distinctive about Afghan cricket.

With two losses out of two, Singapore are hard-pressed to reach the semi-finals from Group A while Afghanistan already look strong contenders. Hong Kong too will need to come from behind after losing their first two matches.

ACC Twenty20 2009
Group A
Afghanistan v Singapore at Sharjah
Singapore won the toss and chose to bat
Singapore: 96 off 20 overs (H.Hassan 3-5, Nabi 3-19, S.Shenwari 2-10)
Afghanistan: 100 for 2 off 12.4 overs (K.Sadiq 68: D.Mulewa 2-14)
Man of the Match: Karim Sadiq (Afghanistan)


ACC Twenty20 Cup 2009

Photo by Saleem Sanghati

Filed Nov 23nd, 2009