Afghanistan presented a great Eid present to a couple of hundred of their fans when they clinched a thrilling last-ball victory over the UAE
Hassan hits UAE for six to clinch an amazing last-ball victory
ABU DHABI // Afghanistan presented a great Eid present to a couple of hundred of their fans when they clinched a thrilling last-ball victory over the UAE to top Group A in the ACC Twenty20 trophy at the Zayed Cricket Stadium yesterday. With just two deliveries to come from UAE captain Khurram Khan and the Afghanistan No 10 batsman Hamid Hassan needing to score 10 runs to give his side an unlikely victory, the home supporters had reason to be confident. But Hassan incredibly hit a four and then smashed the next ball on the full straight over the long boundary for huge six to win the match for his team by one wicket.
"The game was like a see-saw," said the Afghan team's Pakistani coach Kabir Khan. "If we had to learn anything by losing a game, it was this. But we won and still learnt a lot from this game. "I thought the players were a bit casual, knowing they had already qualified for the semi-final. On the other hand, they showed the depth we have in the T20 format. They were playing positive and scoring at every opportunity. It's a great feeling to go into the knockout phase unbeaten from the group."
The UAE started well despite losing opener Mohammed Iqbal in the second ball without a score on the board. Amjad Javed (30) and Irfan Hyder (34) shared a 65-run stand for the second wicket, but they lost four wickets for five runs in the last three overs as the Afghans restricted them to 144 for eight. Afghanistan were struggling at 70 for seven in their reply until the eighth-wicket pair Samiullah Shinwair (34) and Khaleqdad Noori (30) added 53. Both were dismissed in consecutive deliveries by the paceman Qasim Zubair in the penultimate over.
They were left with 15 runs to score in the final over and they scampered for five runs from four balls before Hassan's heroics, leaving him on 19 not out from five deliveries. We did everything right until the last over. We couldn't finish it off," said UAE coach Colin Wells. "It was a good game of cricket though, and if we had to lose a game in this tournament, it was best we did it today." The UAE will face group B leaders Oman in Al Dhaid while Afghanistan take on Kuwait at the Sharjah Stadium, both starting today at 10am.
Oman completed their group games with an 86-run victory over Kuwait in Sharjah. They posted 217 for four and then bowled out Kuwait for 131 in 19.3 overs with Amir Ali taking three for 14. email@example.com