Afghanistan and Scotland finish top in Desert T20
Afghanistan continues their dream form of winning matches at bigger occasions. Today Afghanistan registered their third straight win in the Desert T20 to finish at the top of Group A. They will now face the Oman that finishes second in Group B in the semi-final. It was all disappointing happenings for Namibia in this tournament, which finally came to an end after their 64-run loss. On the other hand Oman lost a match against Scotland, although they both will be playing in Semi Finals against opposite group teams in Desert T20 Challenge 2017 on Saturday 20th January 2017.
It was all luck for Afghanistan after winning the toss; Afghanistan posted a competitive total of 167. The openers, Mohammad Shahzad and Nawroz Mangal, set the tone with a brisk 56-run stand. It was Nawroz Mangal’s farewell innings. In which he scored 32 off 25 balls and looked impressive. But they both and Najibullah Zadran got out in span of three overs, but Asghar Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari bring back to life the innings with a 55-run stand for the fourth wicket. Also with the help of late assault by Afghan lower order batters finished the innings at high.
When they (Namibia) came to chase it down this total of 167, it became a mountain to climb for them. They lost four quick wickets on 7 runs only in three overs. It wasn’t easy to recover from an early loss of quick wickets, only Snyman and Frynlink put bit of fight and added 26 and 28 runs respectively to the total. Namibia bundled out on 103 only. It was once again Rashid Khan pick of the bowler for Afghanistan, he picked up 3 wickets for only 4 runs in 2.2 overs and awarded as player of the match.
Scotland is also finished the group stage matches and remained unbeaten with their third straight victory to finish at the top of Group B. Oman did well after winning the toss and opting to bat first. This decision made their chances more vital and crystal clear to reach in semi-final if they lost this match. It was mathematics calculation, what-ever they will make Scotland needs to chase it down inside 12 over to kick out Oman out of the tournament. Their start wasn’t impressive one. Both their openers fell inside the first five overs without much on the scoreboard.
Their innings never get together; they kept losing their wickets on regular basis that is why they could only managed to score 133 in their all 20 overs. Five of the batsmen managed to cross 15 but the highest score was just 23.Safyan Sharif picked up three wickets in his impressive bowling spell, rest of the bowlers also bowled exceptionally well.
At the halfway stage, it was observed that Oman scored 20 or 25 runs short. The openers, George Munsey and Kyle Coetzer, added a brisk 43. They both failed inside 9th over on 48. But Matthew Cross and Calum MacLeod put on a 71-run stand for the third wicket that took Scotland almost over the line. Matthew Cross fell just three runs short of his fifty but had done enough by then to ensure a comfortable win.
Player of the match was awarded to Matthew Cross on his brilliant 47 run innings and few run-outs.
Semi Final of competition are being to be played today in Dubai between Afghanistan and Oman, while Scotland will take on Ireland in second Semi Final. Winners of both semifinalists will take on each other in night game today.