In the play-off match for the fifth place in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier on Saturday, Afghanistan defeated Oman by five wickets.
On a bright sunny day at Clontarf Cricket Club Ground, Dublin, Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai won the toss and elected to field first.
Riding high on confidence after routing Papua New Guinea by six wickets on Thursday to qualify for next year’s ICC World Twenty20, Afghanistan looked to restrict Oman to a low score.
After losing one early wicket, the second-wicket pair of Khawar Ali and Zeeshan Siddiqui tried to consolidate the innings before Siddiqui was dismissed.
Oman kept losing wickets in the middle overs, restricting the flow of runs. None of the players managed to convert starts and gifted wickets to Afghan pace bowlers led by Dawlat Zadran.
The whole team managed just 127 runs in their stipulated 20 overs. Khawar Ali top-scored for Oman with 21 off 26 balls. For Afghanistan, Dawlat Zadran, Mirwais Ashraf and Aftab Alam claimed two wickets each, while Shapoor Zadran bagged one wicket.
Chasing the modest target of 128 runs to win, Afghanistan got off to a worst possible start, losing three wickets at the score of seven runs in 3.3 overs.
Samiullah Shenwari and Mohammad Nabi held the innings together and took the score to 56 runs before Nabi was dismissed.
After Nabi’s departure, Najibullah Zadran walked in to bat. Famous for his explosive batting, Zadran took attack to the opposition with some blistering strokes. Zadran scored quickfire 44 off 32 balls before being dismissed in the 19th over. Afghanistan reached the target in 18.5 overs overs with seven balls to spare and won the match by five wickets.
With this win, Afghanistan ended the tournament at fifth spot and Oman ended at sixth spot.
On Thursday, in the third and most important qualifying play-off match, Afghanistan defeated Papua New Guinea by six wickets and qualified for the ICC World Twenty20 2016.
The top six teams from qualifer will join the 10 full members for the ICC World Twenty20 2016, which will be held in India between March 11 and April 3, 2016. (Afghan Zariza)