Afghanistan 354 (Stanikzai 127) & 5-0 beat
Namibia 190 & 168 (Dawlatzai 5-23) by 10 wickets
ICC Intercontinental Cup, Windhoek
Afghanistan all but booked their place in the final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup with a 10-wicket thrashing of Namibia in Windhoek. The defeat ends Namibia’s hopes of qualifying for the final.
Mohammad Nabi, Asghar Stanikzai and Izatullah Dawlatzai each starred for Afghanistan as the hosts were dismissed for 190 and 168, while Afghanistan made 354 in their first innings.
Namibia won the toss on Sunday morning and got off to a good start after electing to bat. Openers Xander Pitchers and Pikky Ya France added 49, but wickets tumbled thereafter. Shapoor Zadran removed Pitchers for 22, with captain Mohammad Nabi then ripping the heart out of their top-order and then taking the final two wickets to fall to end with career-best figures six for 33 from 17.2 overs of off-spin.
21 year-old Stephan Baard top-scored for Namibia with 72, while all-rounder Rahmat Shah supplemented Nabi’s bowling haul by taking two important middle-order wickets. Afghanistan then closed day one on 62 for one with former skipper Nowroz Mangal unbeaten on 51; Shabir Noori the man to depart for an obdurate eight off 89 balls.
Day two dawned and Namibia threatened to get back into the contest as the visitors lost three for 18 including Mangal for 59. However, Stanikzai hit his maiden first-class ton and added 79 with Samiullah Shenwari (32) for the fifth-wicket and 48 with Mohammad Shahzad (34) for the sixth. It was the partnership of 108 that he shared with Dawlat Zadran that took the game completely away from Namibia, however.
Dawlat reached fifty for the first time in his first-class career and helped Afghanistan close the second day on 345 for eight as they took the six points for first innings lead. Stanikzai fell to the eighth ball of the third morning as Namibia wrapped up the innings quickly for 354. Left-arm spinner Bernard Scholtz was the pick of the bowlers with five for 123, while there were a brace of wickets apiece for Jason Davidson and Sarel Burger.
Unfortunately Namibia, trailing by 164 runs on first innings were unable to muster much of a fight in their second innings. All seven of the Afghan bowlers used, with the exception of Mirwais Ashraf, picked up a wicket, with Izatullah Dawlatzai then hastening things to a conclusion by finishing the innings with a hat-trick. He bowled Bernard Scholtz with the third ball of the 67th over and then had both Jason Davidson and debutant Marius Delport leg-before first ball to end with figures of five for 23.
Afghanistan’s openers, Noori and Mangal, then took just seven balls to knock off the five runs that were required to complete the 10-wicket win. They play Kenya in their final group match and need only two points to qualify for the final against Ireland.
The two teams will now contest a brace of 50-over World Cricket League Championship matches on 9th and 11th August. The competition serves as a qualifying tournament for the 2015 ICC World Cup, with Afghanistan able to get in the thick of the action with a brace of wins. Namibia are already out of the reckoning for a top two finish; their hopes for 2015 now resting with the World Cup Qualifier in 2014 which will decide the tournament’s remaining entrants.
© Cricket World 2013