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FINAL: Afghanistan v Hong Kong at Tribhuvan University: AFGHANISTAN PUSHED HARD

  • ACC Twenty20 Cup Final, Afghanistan v Hong Kong: Afghanistan won the TOSS and have chosen to bat. Game gets underway in a little under half an hour's time.
  • Whoever won the toss would have batted so Afghanistan have taken the initial advantage on the TU track. A score of 120 could win, 130 should win, 140 will win. Hong Kong will be trying to get their three front-line spinners in action and effective as soon as possible for, if anything, Afghanistan's batsmen who have hardly had to extend themselves this event, have looked vulnerable against the turning ball on these two-paced tracks.
  • Hong Kong are superior to Afghanistan - a good fielding side themselves - in the field and if Hong Kong 'hit their straps' (Australian coach-speak) could have Afghanistan in trouble. Afghanistan have some supreme stroke-players however, and the contest between bat and ball will be a treat to follow.
  • In chats with some of the Nepali team, who have played both sides, going down by nine wickets to Afghanistan, and winning by two wickets against Hong Kong, they think Afghanistan are stone-cold favourites to win today's match. We are not so sure! Sure, Afghanistan have six bona fide match-winners, Hong Kong two, but it's Twenty20 cricket and just ten balls either way can decide the game. Hong Kong on the brink of a huge win against the defending champions and ODI side Afghanistan, the players on both sides are ready to give their best! Play starts in a little over five minutes.
  • Once again Nepal TV are covering this match, having done a fine job from the start, our thanks to them. And if the Nepal v Afghanistan semi-final is anything to go by Cricinfo should also be pretty sure of getting more hits for this match than the Bangladesh v Pakistan Test currently running in Chittagong!
  • Afghanistan's openers Karim Sadiq and Shabbir Noori RHBs both, both vying to be the tournament's leading run-scorer ahead of Maldives's Moosa Kaleem, take the field. Irfan Ahmed RMF, potentially the tournament's highest wicket-taker, with the new ball for Hong Kong. Game on!
  • FOUR first ball, Irfan drops short and Karim smashes easily over mid-wicket
  • Shabbir's first stroke is an authentic defensive one, his second a flash and miss outside off, if Hong Kong get him early it'll be a big blow
  • FOUR by Shabbir, crack of the bat on ball a loud one, Irfan drops short and Shabbir rocks back to hammer one through long-on, Afghanistan 9 for 0 after 1 over
  • Munir SLA on for Hong Kong at the Pavilion End will be looking to exploit all the elements of turn and Karim's craziness
  • Munir beats Karim twice in the first four balls
  • Sixth ball, Karim adds to his reputation as the friend of bowlers by lofting a drive straight into the bucket hands of long-on Babar Hayat, Afghanistan 11 for 1 after 2 overs
  • New Afghan batsman is Gulbadin Naib RHB, up the order today
  • Shabbir attempts a huge drive, beaten outside off by Irfan
  • And then snicks the next one past slip, no chance, soft hands the batsman will say, moral victory for Irfan
  • Shabbir wafts and misses the next ball, attempted pull
  • Good over by Irfan, five off it nevertheless, Afghanistan 16 for 1 after 3 overs and Shabbir to face Munir for the first time in the match
  • Late cuts, fine for FOUR, first ball, Kruger - valiant attempt to save the boundary, Shabbir misplays a sweep next ball, the ball almost rolling on to the stumps, long on moves wide and back on to the boundary
  • WICKET Waqas Barkat takes the catch, Shabbir slicing an attempted drive, to cover and that's a big strike by the SAR team, Afghanistan 20 for 2 in the fourth
  • New Afghan batsman is MS Shehzad RHB, never fazed by a crisis, which this innings is possibly developing into
  • Aizaz Khan RMF replaces Irfan 2-0-11-1 at the Chobhar End
  • WICKET MS holes out to cover, and this is a crisis in which he plays no further part, 22 for 3 in the fifth over, Aizaz the wicket-taker, Irfan the catcher
  • Gulbadin looks in good form, Afghanistan will need the young man to be at his best because Hong Kong certainly are, Nawroz Mangal RHB the Afghan captain at the crease, Afghanistan 23 for 3 in the fifth over
  • Nadeem Ahmed SLA replaces Munir 2-0-7-2 at the Pavilion End
  • WICKET Wheels falling off, Nawroz plays a shot he won't have in his highlights reel, miscuing a slog-sleep to Irfan at square leg, Afghanistan 24 for 4 in the sixth over, Nawroz out for 0
  • Asghar Stanikzai 'best batsman' the new Afghan at the crease
  • Hong Kong have simply put the ball in the right areas and let the Afghan batsmen literally play into their hands, Afghanistan 28 for 4 in the seventh over
  • Aizaz just cutting his pace, focussing on accuracy here, Ferguson the 'keeper standing up to him. Apart from one cut by Asghar, no boundaries off him, Afghanistan 30 for 4 after seven overs
  • Crowd slowly building at the TU ground, about 1500 in so far, may be about to watch a low-scoring thriller. Hong Kong definitely on top at the moment, their attack of pace and spin having worked out four Afghans, Afghanistan 34 for 4 in the 8th over
  • Aizaz Khan RMF to continue, 2-0-7-1 so far
  • Aizaz very cleverly adjusting his pace, Afghanistan's batsmen Asghar and Gulbadin no opportunity to unleash their strokes as yet
  • Aizaz has cracked Gulbadin's bat, a change is being sought
  • Asghar misses out on a full-toss and slaps his thigh in frustration, end of the ninth over, Afghanistan 37 for 4
  • Nizakat OB (with a surprise leg-break) replaces Nadeem SLA 2-0-6-1 at the Pavilion End, Asghar 10*, Gulbadin 7*
  • Afghanistan's first FOUR in three overs, Gulbadin slams a drive through long-off, 43 for 4 in the 10th over
  • Afghanistan 44 for 4 at the half-way stage, Hong Kong's game so far without a doubt
  • Aizaz to bowl his last, 3-0-10-1 so far
  • Guolbadin nudges a FOUR fine, good shot, Afghanistan 48 for 4 in the 11th
  • Hong Kong's close to perfect ground-fielding keeping the pressure on the batsmen
  • Hong Kong's Roy Lamsam - broken finger and all - enthusiastically performing his 14th man duties, ferrying drinks to the boundary fielders, Afghanistan 48 for 4 after 11 overs, Aizaz 4-0-14-1, top bowling from the young man
  • Gulbadin hits the first SIX of the Afghan innings, over wide long-on, Afghanistan 55 for 4 in the 12th, but Nizakat's leg-break beats him next ball
  • Afghanistan 55 for 4 after 12 overs, Gulbadin 24*, Asghar 11*
  • Nadeem SLA to resume, 2-0-6-1 so far
  • Big APPEAL by Nadeem against the cap-wearing Asghar, Umpire Buddhi shakes his head, a run-out chance off the attempted shy by 'keeper Ferguson and it's all happening here, Afghanistan 56 for 4 in the 12th
  • Afghanistan 57 for 4, just two off Nadeem's third over. The big shots will have to come soon
  • Gulbadin smites a straight SIX to the sight-screen first ball of Nizakat's over, big shot, he moves on to 31*, Afghanistan 63 for 4, with just under 7 overs to go
  • Another SIX, same place, a skimmer this time, Gulbadin playing a fine hand here for Afghanistan, 71 for 4 in the 14th over
  • After 14 overs, Afghanistan are 72 for 4, Gulbadin 37*, Asghar 11*, partnership of 47* off 51 balls by these two
  • Nadeem to bowl his last 3-0-7-1 so far
  • WICKET second ball, Asghar playing back to one that fizzes in with the arm and is bowled, and Afghanistan lose their fifth, 73 for 5 in the 15th over
  • Nabi RHB, the man for Afghanistan now
  • Good momentum-sapping wicket by Hong Kong, will want to keep Afghanistan as close to 100 as possible
  • Nadeem finishes with 4-0-8-2, fine bowling by the experienced young man and Afghanistan are 73 for 5 with 5 overs to go, Gulbadin 39* off 37 balls
  • Munir Dar to bowl his last two overs from the Pavilion End, two wickets for him so far.
  • Babar Hayat has great hands but isn't the fastest fielder and Nabi picks him out at long-on for two, Afghanistan 76 for 5 in the 16th over
  • Nabi really having to motor to survive a direct hit by Atkinson at the non-striker's end, 1 more run to Afghanistan, the big shots not in evidence for the past 12 deliveries, and Afghanistan are 79 for 5 with four overs to go. Irfan RMF 2-0-14-0 back on
  • If you can find the boundary without big shots why not use them? Nabi glances Irfan round to backward square for FOUR, Afghanistan 83 for 5 with 23 balls to go
  • SIX, Gulbadin powers Irfan over long-on off the front-foot, his third six, Afghanistan 90 for 5, Gulbadin 47* off 41 with 20 balls to go
  • Afghanistan 91 for 5 with three overs to go
  • Nizakat has been the one relatively expensive bowler for Hong Kong today, he returns with his fast toppies for the 18th over
  • Gulbadin reaches his 50 with a huge SIX over long-on, over us in the press box in fact, his 50 coming off 42 balls, excellent innings by the young man, has played some fine strokes and not looked in any trouble
  • Afghanistan 101 for 5 with two overs to go. Irfan to Nabi now, will be fireworks either way
  • Nabi tonks the third ball, a waist-high full toss over square leg for SIX, Afghanistan 109 for 5
  • Nabi smokes the next ball over long-off, front-foot loft SIX
  • And then is caught next ball by midwicket, Nizakat running in from the boundary, good catch low down, Nabi out for 24 off 16 balls, Afghanistan 115 for 6 with seven balls to go
  • WICKET Sami Shenwari RHB run-out without facing a ball! Afghanistan 115 for 7 with one over to go
  • Gulbadin falls to another fine catch by Babar at wide long-on, Afghanistan 115 for 8 with five balls to go, WICKET Gulbadin made 57 off 50 with two 5s and five 6s, Munir Dar gets his third wicket
  • WICKET Dawlat Zadran's out first ball, top-edge to first slip, four balls, four wickets by Hong Kong
  • Hamid Hassan RHB slams the Munir hat-trick ball for FOUR through midwicket and powers the next one-handed follow-through over long-on for SIX and WICKET is then bowled next ball and Afghanistan finish on 125 all out
  • Munir Dar 3.5-0-23-5, crafty bowling, crafty guy
  • Hong Kong will be more than happy to have kept Afghanistan to 125, Afghanistan's batting below par as it has been all tournament, only Gulbadin Naib's 57 of 50 and Nabi's 24 off 16 the saving graces in the face of some tight and testing Hong Kong bowling and fielding
  • Can Hong Kong's batters withstand Afghanistan's bowlers though? 126 wanted at just over a run-a-ball!
  • Afghanistan recovered well from 24 for 4, at one time it looked like Hong Kong were going to topple them for a really low score but a partnership of 49 off 54 balls between Asghar and Gulbadin rescued them before Nabi hit the gas. 81 runs came off the last 10 overs and though they lost four wickets in four balls across the 19th and 20th overs, Afghanistan have given themselves a defendable score. But if Irfan gets going as well as he has been this tournament and if Munir Dar then buccaneers, Hong Kong will win this
  • Hamid Hassan RF to Irfan RHB to start this 126-run chase
  • Hamid has conceded only one boundary in his last eight T20 matches, he concedes his second, Irfan driving him, a little mistimed, to long-off for FOUR. This is going to be a great contest!
  • WICKET Hamid you sly one! Jags one, in slower, it’s been pace,pace,pace all this time until that one which he held back a touch and Irfan's bowled through the gate, leg-stump, Hong Kong 4 for 1 at the end of the first
  • Waqas Barkat the other opener, to face Dawlat Zadran RMF from the Pavilion End
  • Hong Kong's batsmen are up against the best bowlers of the tournament here
  • Shabbir has to drive full-length to his left at mid-off to save what would have been a Waqas boundary, the young Hong Kong batsman driving Dawlat firmly off the front foot, survives a miscue, potential caught-and-bowled soon after, the ball just dropping short of the diving Dawlat in his follow-through, Hong Kong 9 for 1 in the second over, Target 126
  • Hamid is just too quick today. His tactics: force the batsmen onto the back foot and then push one through fuller and on the stumps. It worked against Irfan, will it work against Atkinson and co.?
  • Almost! The fastest ball of the day is EDGED between 'keeper and slip for FOUR, Hong Kong's captain off the mark
  • Hamid huffs and puffs but can blow no others down as yet, Hong Kong 13 for 1 after 3 overs, Target 126
  • Waqas looking to come on to the front foot at every opportunity but the pace of Dawlat is forcing him back
  • FOUR, snicked wide of the diving 'keeper MS Shehzad, Hong Kong 17 for 1 in the fourth, Target 126
  • Dawlat giving the young Waqas the fast-bowlers' stare
  • Gets one to climb to Waqas who just gets bat on to it, that was throat bound
  • Hong Kong are surviving
  • And singles are being taken, scoreboard ticking, 19 for 1 after 4 overs, Target 126
  • Hamid takes a break 2-0-8-1 so far, Sami Shenwari LB from the Chabohar End now
  • Atkinson survives a direct hit by Shabbir from square leg and then Waqas paddle-sweeps a FOUR to the wide open spaces, Hong Kong 24 for 1 after 26 balls, Target 126
  • Waqas you Munir Dar-influenced batsman, paddles one finer for FOUR and then plays an awesome shot through point for FOUR and Hong Kong motoring at 28 for 1 now after 5 overs, Target 126
  • Karim Sadiq OB, fast, flat and fizzing at the Pavilion End, replacing Dawlat Zadran 2-0-11-0
  • Atkinson RHB cuts for FOUR, crowd of 4000 roaring their approval, repeats the stroke next ball, Hong Kong 38 for 1 off 33 balls, Target 126
  • Terrific contest in the making, Hong Kong just getting on top
  • Zamir Khan SLA on now, flat and fast, likely to cause the Hong Kong batsmen problems
  • End of the seventh over, Hong Kong 45 for 1, Target 126.
  • Mohammad Nabi OB the new bowler at the Pavilion End
  • Nabi needs two wickets to be the tournament's highest wicket-taker
  • Waqas is playing a fine hand here, comes down the wicket to find the point boundary from an inside-out drive for FOUR but Nabi is Nabi and has a doosra to beat all others at this level and has him caught behind next ball WICKET and Hong Kong are 52 for 2 after 8 overs, Target 126. Waqas made 22 off 17 balls
  • Courtney Kruger RHB the new Hong Kong bat
  • Unlikely to be any big shots for a while unless the deliveries absolutely deserve it, chase control in action. Hong Kong 57 for 2 after 9 overs, Target 126
  • Hong Kong are up with the rate. It is really building up to a tight finish
  • Kruger doesn't quite time a swat to midwicket but comes back hard for a good 2 off Nabi's bowling and Hong Kong are 62 for 2 at the half-way stage,needing another 64 to win
  • Sami Shenwari LB to come back on, has been taking some punishment
  • Sami pushing his legbreaks through just a little too quickly, not giving the ball a chance to bite, two FOURS off the over, good strokes, Hong Kong 72 for 2 after 11 overs, Target 126, Atkinson 30* off 34
  • Hong Kong need a run a ball for the next nine overs to win
  • Nawroz Mangal OB brings himself on, Kruger drives his second ball for FOUR, top shot to the sightscreen, the batsmen punch gloves
  • Seven off the Nawroz over and Hong Kong in cruise control here, 79 for 2 after 12 overs, Target 126
  • Dawlat back on 2-0-11-0 and could have had wickets earlier
  • Dawlat RMF's first ball pins Courtney Kruger's leg stump back, WICKET, Hong Kong 79 for 3 at the start of the 13th over, 17 off 14 balls
  • Nizakat RHB the new bat
  • Dawlat is close to as quick as Hamid Hassan, Hong Kong just need to see him off
  • Every ball of Dawlat's to Atkinson, you feel the match in the balance
  • Hong Kong 82 for 3 after 13 overs, 44 more wanted
  • Zamir Khan SLA back on for his third over 2-0-7-0 so far, at the Pavilion End this time
  • Nizakat survives a miscue to Sami running back from point, just beats the dive, Hong Kong 85 for 3 in the 14th over
  • But he doesn't survive the next one, this miscue goes straighter and Nabi catches the swirler, Hong Kong 86 for 4 in the 14th over. WICKET And Munir Dar, The Munir Dar is in
  • Atkinson survives a big APPEAL for lbw last ball, Hong Kong 86 for 4, need 40 off the last six overs
  • The Munir Dar means Nawroz brings The Hamid Hassan back on
  • This is what could happen, short, short, short, variation in pace, and then quicker, fuller one. What will Munir do? Defend, defend, defend and look for the single. Time is still on Hong Kong's side
  • Atkinson takes a quick single to Zamir Khan at mid-off, survives the direct hit
  • Munir Dar patting the wicket
  • Three singles off the over, Hong Kong need 37 with five overs to go, the required run-rate creeping up
  • Nabi 2-0-11-1 to bowl the 16th
  • There's some reflections in the late afternoon dipping sun off aVIP car parked on the grassy bank behind the Pavilion End sightscreen, either the car or the sun will have to move for play to go on
  • Munir Dar SIX, reverse sweep off Nabi who can't believe it, Hong Kong 95 for 4 after the first ball of the 16th over
  • Munir Dar WICKET holes out, saw a juicy short ball from Nabi, but it climbed into him a little too quickly and he loops it to Karim Sadiq at midwicket and Hong Kong are 97 for 5 in the 16th over, Munir out for 8 off 7 balls
  • Babar Hayat RHB in not much form so far this event, the new man, Hong Kong 97 for 5, need 29 off 24 balls to win
  • Zamir Khan SLA has Babar Hayat tangled up for a while until Babar unleashes a drive over long-off for SIX, Hong Kong 105 for 5 after 17 overs, Target 126, Zamir 4-0-19-1, Atkinson 35* off 45 balls
  • Dawlat RMF to Atkinson, middle stump cartwheels, WICKET, first ball of the 18th over, Atkinson out for 35 off 46
  • Aizaz, gutsy, the new man, won a match for Hong Kong this year in Pepsi ICC WCL Div 3 out of nowhere. Capable of doing it again
  • FOUR Aizaz on the up through long-off, top shot, Hong Kong 109 for 6, need 17 off the last 15 balls
  • Aizaz pulls one almost off his eyebrows, enough bat on it for 2, and Hong Kong need 13 off two overs to win
  • Cometh the hour cometh Hamid, two of Babar's pins ripped out, Hong Kong 113 for 7, need 13 off 11 balls to win
  • Young Kinchit Shah in to play his first match of the event at a hugely significant time
  • WICKET Run-out Kinchit plays to point, Aizaz sets off, Kinchit having walked down the wicket to play the shot (!) doesn't keep going and Hamid cartwheels after receiving the throw before knocking the wicket down
  • WICKET Hamid razes through Kinchit with a yorker and Hong Kong are 113 for 9 after 18.3 overs, Target 126
  • Nadeem Ahmed RHB the new bat, loves a hit
  • The crowd have been behind Hong Kong in recent overs, and would love to see it go to one more
  • Hamid whizzes past Nadeem's outside edge, Nawroz comes up to have a word with his bowler, I think he would have suggested a yorker
  • It was a yorker, Nadeem digs it out, one over to go, Hong Kong 115 for 9, need 11 to win.
  • Nabi OB to bowl the last, off-spinner to Nadeem ?! Hong Kong could win this, but it's Nabi. What a game!
  • Single off the first ball by Nadeem brings Mark Ferguson on strike. Not known as a hitter. 10 off 5 wanted
  • WICKET, Nadeem run-out at the non-striker's end going for the second to long-on and AFGHANISTAN HAVE WON THE 2011 ACC TWENTY20 CUP by eight runs
  • WHAT A GAME. Hong Kong played to their best and forced Afghanistan to dig deep and be at their best with the ball. Afghanistan took the last five Hong Kong wickets for 20 runs, to win by just eight, the turning point being Munir Dar's dismissal to to that catch in the deep with 29 wanted.
  • Upto then, it was Hong Kong's game but Afghanistan's fast bowlers Hamid and Dawlat were just too good and with the help of their fielders and Nabi got their team home. Afghanistan have now won all three ACC Twenty20 Cups
  • The end of another incredible ACC tournament, this Twenty20 Cup the best of them all as we've seen a Hong Kong come up strongly to challenge the mighty Afghanistan. Afghanistan undoubtedly need to work on their batting, and their fielding could improve to Hong Kong's level but they are deserved champions for the third time in this event. As bowlers they are peerless. Hong Kong took them all the way and will be disappointed not to have won but they are a side for the future. Creditable performances from Bhutan and Maldives also, but it is Nepal, Oman and Hong Kong who join Afghanistan and twelve other global Associates and Affiliates at the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in the UAE in March. A place in World Twenty20 2012 in Sri Lanka awaits. Afghanistan have been to the highest level already and will want to do it again.

ACC Twenty20 Cup, FINAL
Afghanistan v Hong Kong at Tribhuvan University
AFGHANISTAN WON BY EIGHT RUNS
Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat
Afghanistan: 125 all out off 19.5 overs (G.Naib 57; M.Dar 5-23,N.Ahmed 2-8)
Hong Kong: 117 all out off 19.2 overs (J.Atkinson 35; H.Hassan 3-12, D.Zadran 2-21, M.Nabi 2-21)
Man of the Match: Hamid Hassan (Afghanistan)
Scorecard

Gallery
Tournament page

Filed December 11th, 2011


 
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