by Richard Lockwood

Afghanistan started the ACC U-16 Challenge Cup with a bang by defeating Maldives by 316 runs.

Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat as the tournament got underway on a hazy morning in Chiang Mai. The openers set off at a flying pace and their batting onslaught never stopped as Afghanistan posted a total of 353 for 5 in their 40 overs.

The first wicket was lost at 39 but opener Javed Ahmadzai reached his fifty from 51 balls with seven fours as the 100 was raised with only one wicket down.

Parviz Khan became the second Afghan batsman to record a fifty as the second wicket partnership passed the century mark. Afghanistan looked well set for a dominant total as the boundaries continued to flow.

Javed Ahmadzai scored the first century of the ACC U-16 Challenge Cup, reaching the landmark from only 89 balls, as Afghanistan passed 200 with only one wicket down. Parvis Khan had helped him add 174 for the second wicket when he was second man out for 74 with the total on 213.

There was no let up for the young Maldives bowlers as the Afghan assault continued with their batsmen looking to post a total over 300. Javed Ahmadzai showed no sign of tiredness and left-hander Tariq Khan went for his shots from the start, hitting the first two sixes of the innings.

Landmarks came and went in rapid succession as the innings came to a close. The 300 was brought up in the 36th over and Javed Ahmadzai reached his 150. The 100 partnership for the third wicket was posted in less than seven overs and Tariq Khan raced to his fifty in 22 balls.

Javed Ahmadzai’s innings came to an end on 161 as three late wickets at least gave Maldives something to celebrate, but Afghanistan's total of 353 for 5 in 40 overs looked an impregnable one.

The contest continued to be an uneven one as Maldives began their pursuit of mission very difficult though not impossible. Fiery Afghan opening bowler Naween-ul-Haq took two wickets in his second over with stumps cartwheeling behind the unfortunate Maldives batsmen on both occasions.

Afghanistan's opening bowlers were taken out of the attack after bowling just two overs apiece and the Maldives total began to edge forward against the spinners.

The Afghan spinners were allowed to find a good length and line and both claimed wickets as Maldives continued to struggle with the bat.

Left-arm seamer Muslim Zazai was introduced and he also bowled with impressive pace to send the stumps flying once more. Maldives opener Ibrahim Rizan was seventh out as the total reached 32 for seven after 20 overs.

The end of the match came quickly with a total of seven batsmen out bowled in the innings as the Maldives proved incapable of playing the fast straight ball. Maldives’ final total was a disappointing 37 and the margin of Afghanistan's victory a mighty 316 runs.

Naveen-ul-Haq finished with figures of four for one, hitting the stumps four times and not conceding a run from the bat.

Afghanistan will take some beating in this tournament.


Afghanistan v Maldives at Gymkhana, Chiang Mai
Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat
Afghanistan: 353 for 5 off 40 overs (J. Ahmadzai 161, P. Khan 74, T. Khan 64*; T. Sunil 3-67)
Maldives: 37 off 22.1 overs (N.-ul-Haq 4-1).
Player of the Match: Javed Ahmadzai (Afghanistan)

Tournament page

Filed March 3rd, 2012