Afghanistan stunned a second-string Pakistan in the semi-finals of the Asian Games in Guangzhou to continue their fairytale run in cricket over the past two years. This victory assures them of at least a silver, boosting the medals tally of a nation which has only two medals – both in taekwondo – in the Asian Games.
It’s been a low-scoring tournament so far, and Afghanistan’s 125, after being sent in, was a competitive total. Eighteen-year-old Shabir Noori top scored with 35 to revive Afghanistan after they had slid to 55 for 4, but another bunch of wickets towards the end prevented a big final push.
Pakistan’s opening pair, Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif, began the chase in a hurry, racing to 30 off three overs, seemingly setting the platform for a straightforward victory. Sharjeel then fell lbw to Mirwaiz Ashraf for 23, but Latif guided Pakistan to 60 for 1. There was a heated exchange between Latif and Afghanistan wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad, which needed the umpires to intervene. Latif was then dismissed lbw, and Naeemuddin Qazi was run out soon after, and two wickets in an over from offspinner Karim Sadiq left Pakistan at 68 for 5.
With the asking-rate mounting, the Pakistan lower-order was unable to find the boundary and Afghanistan completed a famous upset.
“It’s a big win for Afghanistan,” their captain Mohammad Nabi said. “Every person there is watching the match and everybody is happy about this win. I’m very satisfied because we have fantastic fitness levels and the boys have worked very hard in every position, whether it’s fielding, bowling or batting. “
The vice-captain, Karim Sadeq, said the whole the country was behind the team. “On TV last night in Afghanistan, they told people to pray that we would win,” he said. “Tonight they will be celebrating all over the country. It’s a dream for us.”
On Friday, Afghanistan will take on the winner of the other semi-final between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the clash for the gold medal.
25 November 2010 (20-over match)
|Afghanistan innings (20 overs maximum)||R||B||4s||6s||SR|
|Mohammad Shahzad†||c Naeemuddin b Raza Hasan||17||26||2||0||65.38|
|Karim Sadiq||c Khalid Latif b Mohammad Irshad||19||22||2||1||86.36|
|Mirwais Ashraf||run out (Azeem Ghumman)||1||4||0||0||25.00|
|Shabir Noori||c Jalat Khan b Mohammad Irshad||35||30||2||2||116.66|
|Nawroz Mangal||c †Naeem Anjum b Raza Hasan||10||11||2||0||90.90|
|Asghar Stanikzai||c Khalid Latif b Lal Kumar||10||12||1||0||83.33|
|Mohammad Nabi*||c Jalat Khan b Lal Kumar||7||5||0||1||140.00|
|Shafiqullah||lbw b Aizaz Cheema||6||6||0||1||100.00|
|Samiullah Shenwari||not out||3||5||0||0||60.00|
|Hamid Hassan||not out||2||1||0||0||200.00|
|Extras||(b 1, lb 3, w 9, nb 2)||15|
|Total||(8 wickets; 20 overs)||125||(6.25 runs per over)|
|Did not bat Shapoor Zadran|
|Fall of wickets1-35 (Karim Sadiq), 2-38 (Mirwais Ashraf), 3-45 (Mohammad Shahzad), 4-55 (Nawroz Mangal), 5-101 (Asghar Stanikzai), 6-104 (Shabir Noori), 7-111 (Mohammad Nabi), 8-123 (Shafiqullah)|
|Pakistan innings (target: 126 runs from 20 overs)||R||B||4s||6s||SR|
|Sharjeel Khan||lbw b Mirwais Ashraf||23||16||4||1||143.75|
|Khalid Latif*||lbw b Mohammad Nabi||26||32||3||0||81.25|
|Azeem Ghumman||lbw b Karim Sadiq||11||25||1||0||44.00|
|Naeemuddin||run out (Shafiqullah)||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|Sheharyar Ghani||c Shabir Noori b Karim Sadiq||3||8||0||0||37.50|
|Naeem Anjum†||c Shabir Noori b Hamid Hassan||5||11||0||0||45.45|
|Lal Kumar||not out||18||15||1||0||120.00|
|Jalat Khan||c Nawroz Mangal b Hamid Hassan||9||8||1||0||112.50|
|Mohammad Irshad||not out||3||4||0||0||75.00|
|Extras||(lb 4, nb 1)||5|
|Total||(7 wickets; 20 overs)||103||(5.15 runs per over)|
|Did not bat Raza Hasan,Aizaz Cheema|
|Fall of wickets1-31 (Sharjeel Khan), 2-60 (Khalid Latif), 3-60 (Naeemuddin), 4-68 (Sheharyar Ghani), 5-68 (Azeem Ghumman), 6-77 (Naeem Anjum), 7-98 (Jalat Khan)|