From the ICC T20 - Day 3 - Afghanistan v USA

"We are like brothers in the team and now we are so close to our joint dream," said Hamid afterwards.

"We're here to qualify for the World Cup," said Afghanistan's coach Kabir Khan.
Hamid Hassan
2.57 PM, Dubai: Afghanistan v USA USA finish on 106 for 7 and Afghanistan have won by 29 runs.

Afghanistan were the all-round superior side, conditioned cricketers against a group of doughty triers.

The Afghan administrators in suits and ties join their team on the field who go over to their fans beneath the stand to salute them. A great cheer arises from, an even louder one as Hamid, Shahzad and Taj Malik take the Afghan flag across to them.

Afghanistan and UAE top their groups and look in good shape for the Super 4s starting tomorrow. Join us then.
2.54 PM, Dubai: Afghanistan v USA USA does get past 100 with four balls remaining, 103 for 6 off 19.2 overs.

Crowd, maybe 800 strong now, roaring in Shahpour every ball.
2.45 PM, Dubai: Afghanistan v USA Hamid Hassan is just too quick for the American bats. USA 83 for 5 after 17. Playing out time here. Afghanistan may not let them pass 100.
2.37 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA Hamid makes the photographers happy! He yorks Allen fifth ball into his second over, cartwheels and then points his fingers to the sky as Allen walks off and then squats on his haunches to be embraced by his team-mates. He's a star in a team of many stars.
USA 69 for 5 after 15. 67 off 30 wanted if they are to win.
2.30 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA USA keep losing wickets at the start of overs. Shafiqullah takes a catch running in at square leg to give Nabi his second wicket and USA are four down with 79 wanted off 41 balls.

The crowd is really noisy now, though the USA contingent fight back with a 6 by Timroy Allen over long on. 66 for 4 with 6 overs to go. USA need another 70.
2.26 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA Nabi and Hamid Hassan do it again. Hamid takes a wicket with his first ball, Carl Wright caught for 28 at cover off a flat-bat slash and USA are 54 for 3 at the start of the 13th over.
2.23 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA Sami 'The Cheetah' Shenwari drops a sitter at long-off, though staring into the sun couldn't have helped. His team-mates can't believe it, he's the best fielder in the side! USA 54 for 2 after 12 overs.
2.21 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA Lennox Cush goes, caught well in the deep by Nowroz Mangal off Nabi. USA 47 for 2 at the start of the 12th over.

The Afghan drums are being beaten now, looks like their the only Afghan things that'll be beaten on this ground today.
2.16 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA USA 39 for 1 after 10, trying to make things happen but the required run-rate just keeps climbing as Afghanistan get ever more on top. 97 needed off the next 10 overs.
2.06 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA But Afghans outnumber the American support by about 50 to 1, and they can be heard in full voice when Sushil Nadkarni's caught at long-on by Nowroz off Mirwais Ashraf. USA 28 for 1 in the 8th over, needing to score at over 8 an over to win.
2.05 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA Some cries of 'USA, USA', can be heard from the American dressing-room after Sushil Nadjkarni cuts Karim Sadiq's off-spin to the point boundary. USA 27 for 0 after 7 overs.
1.57 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA Afghanistan very much on top, like their fans in the upper tier. USA 15 for 0 after 5. They need 121 off 15 at just over 8 an over.
1.53 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA USA being smothered here. Can't get the ball off the square, whenever they get bat on ball, thanks to some tight bowling and alert fielding. A square drive by the dreadlocked Carl Wright off Mirwais Ashraf relieves some pressure. USA 11 for 0 after 4 overs.
1.48 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA Shahpour's on fire. Beating Carl Wright for pace and bounce at the start of the 3rd over. He and Sushil Nadkarni late on almost every stroke they try to play off him. USA 7 for 0 after 3 overs.
1.40 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA Shahpour Zadran shows what pace can do on this wicket getting one to climb off a length at Carl Wright, Mohammad Shahzad taking the ball head high 20 yards back. USA 4 for 0 after 1 over.
Crowd has built to 600 now.
1.15 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA Afghanistan a little disappointed not to get past 140 but two carpet drives off the last two balls by Raees Ahmadzai either side of the wicket, takes them to 135 for 4. USA did well, and they'll be quite happy with their performance in the field. Nabi finishes on 25 off 18 and Raees on 26 off 17.

USA innings will start in 10 minutes.
1.11 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA Only 4 off the 19th over though. Afghanistan 124 for 4 after 19.
1.07 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA 9 off the 18th over, scrambled all the way, Nabi lightning between the wickets. Afghanistan 120 for 4 after 18 overs.
1.03 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA Good partnership between Nabi and Raees so far, 22 off 13. Afghanistan 111 for 4 after 17. 140 is on.

500 in the stadium now. Noise increasing too.
12.59 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA Nabi. 6. It happens a lot, doesn't it. Imperious drive through cover this time. Afghanistan 100 for 4 after 16 overs.
12.55 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA A hush descends on the ground as Nowroz Mangal is run out. Afghanistan 89 for 4 after 15 and the momentum is tailing off. USA doing well. Nabi, crouching tiger, is joined by Raees at the crease.
12.50 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA Karim's charmed life (25 off 26) ends, stumped taking a wild heave to Timroy Allen at the end of the 14th over. "I keep telling him to survive the last ball of every over," says his brother and Assistant Coach Taj Malik. Afghanistan 82 for 3 and Nabi walks in......
12.45 PM, Dubai, Afghanistan v USA Karim Sadiq survives a chance to midwicket and next ball, hits a 6 over deep-mid on off Timroy Allen's leggies. Crowd likes it! Afghanistan 75 for 2 in the 14th.
12.41 Dubai, Afghanistan v USA First 6 of the day, Nowroz doesn't get all the bat on a leg-side drive, but has timed it well enough to beat long-on. Afghanistan 67 for 2 after 12 overs, Nowroz 26 off 23.
12.34 Dubai, Afghanistan v USA Karim Sadiq at 4, not opening, has some hustle and bustle about him today. Looks ever so determined after a relative failure yesterday against Scotland. Timing the ball well. Afghanistan 51 for 2 after 10.

Crowd up to 400 now cheering with 'Afghanistan Zindabad'
12.27 PM, Dubai: Afghanistan v USA Afghanistan survive another run-out chance at the start of the 9th over.
12.25 PM, Dubai: Afghanistan v USA If Afghanistan have one distinct area for improvement it's their running between the wickets. Noor Ali (26 off 27) run out going for a second in a mix-up with Nowroz. USA making some inroads here. Afghanistan 38 for 2 in the 8th.
12.18 PM, Dubai Afghanistan v USA Noor Ali is an un-Afghan batsmen, to the extent that he doesn't rely on power and big shots to generate runs. He knows there are runs all around the ground if you place the ball in the gaps, as two fours through fine leg in Imran Awan's first over show. He's dropped by mid-off running to his left two balls later though! Afghanistan 32 for 1 after overs.
12.13 PM, Dubai Afghanistan v USA USA look to be a good fielding side, racing in hard to cut off runs and boundaries. 'Work, work" is the cry from Timroy Allen at fine leg. One cover drive by Nowroz Mangal off Darlington is unstoppable though. Afghanistan 19 for 1 after 5 overs.
12.05 PM, Dubai Afghanistan v USA Mohamamd Shahzad falls, caught behind for a duck. Afghanistan 5 for 1 at the start of the third.
The rejigged bating order means that Afghanistan's Nowroz Mangal comes in at 3.
12.04 PM. Dubai, Afghanistan v USA: 4-0 after 2 overs. Steady start by the Afghanistan batsmen against some steady bowling from the Americans. The wicket's not as green as two days ago and still no signs of pace or bounce off it from the military medium of Lennox Cush and Kevin Darlington. As ever, the turf is verdant, lush and smooth.
11.57 AM, Dubai Afghanistan v USA: Big round of applause as the teams take the field behind the umpires.
11.45 AM, Dubai Afghanistan v USA: Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat

Big game atmosphere building here at the incredible Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Afghan fans are all up on the second deck, lookimng down like imperial Senators of Rome on the gladiators below.
Lots of media here too, Reuters and Al Jazeera have all filmed pieces with the Afghans who have given us all such great stories over the past four years.
11.30 AM, Dubai: Afghanistan v USA
The Afghan fans are massing at Dubai Sports City, it looks like hundreds have made their way in.
There's plenty of security personnel in evidence too, unlike other days. There's local police and security guards, all on hand, primarily it seems to scotch any chance of an incident against 'America'.
The Afghan fans in this part of the world have been incredibly enthusiastic and genuine in their support of their cricketers in all the years the ACC have hosted matches in the Middle East and one genuinely expects them to do nothing more today than clap and cheer.
The Afghan fans may be hoping their fielders take every chance, the powers that be are taking no chances.
Raees Ahmadzai
10.05 AM, Dubai: Afghanistan v USA
One expects this to be a Afghan-centric column, even so I won't mention too much about the USA players in the hotel because they are having a high level of security detail, almost like Test and ODI teams visiting the subcontinent would do. Right now the lobby's crowded with the players, regular hotel guests and a number of uniformed people.
The Afghan cricketers, having had a good night's sleep are looking rested, though a few are still complaining of aches and pains that have developed over two days of intense cricket. All the coaches here are in agreement, 'Twenty20 takes as much out of you as 50 over-cricket". And no one schedules back-to-back ODIs any more.

Afghanistan's cricketers all seem to have put on some body-mass since I last saw them in November at the ACC Twenty20 Cup here, they're broader across the chest and thighs.
"We worked very hard in Sri Lanka (where the team were playing T20s, 50-overs and a 4-day match) just before coming here", says Raees Ahmadzai. "400 push-ups in a day, running, practise, training, we really did a lot in very hot conditions." They look somehow stronger than their more willowy and stockier American opponents today. Let's see if it's an advantage on the pitch. Afghanistan are favourites to win, but America's batting is capable of a surprise. And it's T20: anything can happen and just a couple of good or bad overs can be critical.
9.30 AM, Dubai: Afghanistan v USA has loomed large over this tournament, more for its symbolism than its cricket. Truth is, the players care not much for the symbolism. "We're cricketers playing cricket against other cricketers," says Raees Ahmadzai, "if Afghanistan and America meet it is better done through Mr. Karzai and Mr. Obama than with us."
Afghanistan's President is taking a personal interest in his cricketers though, after his team's win yesterday over Scotland, he sent congratulations through his Finance Minister (who is also the Chairman of the Afghanistan Cricket Board).
The fact of the matter is, these Afghani cricketers harbour no ill-feeling to America or Americans or especially these American cricketers.
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