After a streak of failures dasher Mohammad Shahzad (68) finally managed to dazzle. Chasing a tricky target of 154 Afghanistan did not had best of the start as they lost their opener Najeeb Taraki (7) in third over and at the end of Powerplay were 38/1.
Mohammad Shahzad and Asghar Stanikzai (13) then managed a 55 run stand for second wicket with major contribution coming from Shahzad’s bat, who scored his 5th T20I fifty. His innings comprised of six fours and three huge sixes one of which was the famous MS Dhoni style Helicopter shot. Shahzad played bundle of his strokes through the off side and Hong Kong bowlers looked apathetic.
Shahzad before losing his wicket was involved in another partnership with Shafiqullah (53*) for the third wicket, the pair added valuable 47 runs. Shafiqullah scored his half century off just 24 balls, hitting five fours and three meaty sixes.
Unbeaten 38 run stand for fourth wicket between Shafiqullah and Mohammad Nabi (6*) saw Afghanistan home in 18th over with seven wickets in hand, during this partnership Shafiqullah single-handedly hammered Hong Kong bowlers all around the park.
Earlier in the day Hong Kong won the toss and elected to bat first. Captain Jamie Atkinson’s cameo rescued Hong Kong after opener Irfan Ahmed went for duck. Atkinson’s dismissal followed a 60 run partnership for the third wicket between Waqas Barkat and Mark Chapman. Apart from Atkinson (31), Barkat (32) and Chapman (38) no other batsmen had major contribution. At the end of ten overs Hong Kong were 72/2, with wickets in hand it looked they will finish big but lower middle order batsmen failed to capitalise and Hong Kong fared to 153/8
Afghanistan bowlers contained Hong Kong and kept picking wickets at regular intervals. Fast bowler Shapoor Zadran along with spinners Mohammad Nabi and Hamza Hotak picked two wickets apiece.
Loss here for Hong Kong means that they are eliminated from WorldT20.
Man of the Match: Mohammad Shahzad
Brief Scores: Afghanistan 154/3 (M. Shahzad 68, T. Afzal 19-1) bt Hong Kong 153/8 (M. Chapman 38, S. Zadran 27-2)