World Twenty20 5th Match Group A qualifying round: Shahzad and Shafiqullah knock Hong Kong out of World T20

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Shahzad walloped 68 runs off 53 balls

Afghanistan opener Mohammad Shahzad and batsman Shafiqullah both hammered spectacular half-centuries to crush Hong Kong by seven wickets in Chittagong and knock them out of the tournament.

Hong Kong captain Jamie Atkinson would have been pondering whether he made the right decision to bat first early on as opening batsman Irfan Ahmed was clean bowled by Shapoor Zadran off the first ball of the match.

Atkinson managed to make a quickfire 31 before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Hamza Hotak.

Waqas Barkat and Mark Chapman kept the runs flowing with a brilliant 60-run partnership before Barkat was caught by Dawlat Zadran at fine leg off the bowling of Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi for 32.

Babar Hayat only made five runs before he was caught by Asghar Stanikzai at deep square leg off the bowling of Nabi.

Chapman ended up making 38 off 43 balls, which included three boundaries and a six, before he was cleaned up by Dawlat Zadran.

Nizakat Khan scored nine runs before he was caught by Nabi at extra cover off the bowling of Hotak.

Debutant Munir Dar fared no better as he was run out by Najeeb Tarakai for three runs.

Tanwir Afzal made a quickfire 11 before he was caught by Gulbadin Naib at wide long-on off the bowling of Shapoor Zadran.

Hong Kong eventually finished on 153/8 at the end of their 20 overs.

Shapoor Zadran, Hotak and Nabi picked up two wickets apiece, while Dawlat Zadran chipped in with one.

Chasing 154 to win, Afghanistan got off to a poor start as Tarakai was caught by Nadeem Ahmed at deep midwicket off the bowling of Afzal for seven runs.

Stanikzai and Mohammad Shahzad made up for the early loss of Tarakai with an excellent 55-run partnership before Stanikzai was caught by Hayat at wide long-on off the bowling of Aizaz Khan for 13.

After dropping Shahzad twice, the wicketkeeper-batsman went on to make a magnificent 68, which came off 53 balls and included six boundaries and three sixes, before he was brilliantly caught by Irfan Ahmed at extra cover off the bowling of Haseeb Amjad.

From that point on, Shafiqullah took over and smashed a stunning 51 off 24 balls, which included five boundaries and three sixes to lead Afghanistan to a seven-wicket win.

Afzal, Amjad and Aizaz Khan snapped up one wicket each.

Shahzad was named Man of the Match, and said: “I didn’t play well in the last two matches so the coach told me to take my time. Everybody supported me in the match. It was a good fifty for me and it was a good win for us. In t20, everything is possible. We need to see the result of the next match and hopefully we can make it to the next round.”

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