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Nabi’s blitz in vain as UAE edge Afghanistan in second T20I

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SHARJAH: Mohammad Nabi’s blistering 47 went in vain as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) edged Afghanistan by 11 runs in the second T20I here on Sunday.

The host team’s bowlers Muhammad Jawadullah and Ali Naseer bowled Afghanistan for 155 in pursuit of 167 to register an 11-run victory and level the series 1-1.

UAE got off to a flying start after opting to bat first as their captain Muhammad Waseem and Aryan Lakra raised a brilliant 72-run opening stand.

Qais Ahmed put the brakes on their progress with the wicket of Waseem, who departed after a quick innings of 53 runs from 32 balls, featuring four boundaries and three sixes.

Afghanistan bowlers capitalized after the first wicket as UAE slipped from 72-1 to 127-7, with Lakra standing firm amidst falling wickets on the other end.

Akif Raja joined Lakra at the fall of the seventh wicket in the 17th over and together they added 39 runs from 19 balls to push UAE’s total to 166-7 in their allotted 20 overs.

Aryan Lakra scored an unbeaten 63 off 47, with the help of three boundaries and four sixes, while Akif Raja scored 13 off 11 with two boundaries.

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Qais Ahmed and Azmatullah Omarzai picked two wickets for Afghanistan, while Fazalhaq Farooqi and Mohammad Nabi grabbed one scalp each.

In response, Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz laid the foundation for Afghanistan with a 47-run opening stand which was broken by Ali Naseer in the sixth over.

Gurbaz was the first man to depart after an anchoring 21 off 17.

Afghanistan skipper Ibrahim Zadran (4) became the second victim of Naseer in the next over with 63 runs on the board.

Zazai continued to attack before he also fell prey to Naseer after scoring 36 runs from 27 balls, laced with two boundaries and three sixes.

After Zazai’s departure, Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran stitched together a 26-run partnership before Jawadullah dismissed Zadran to end the budding stand.

Darwish Rasooli was also bowled by Jawadullah in the same over, while Azmatullah Omerzai was dismissed on the first ball of the next over by Junaid Siddique, slipping Afghanistan to 99-6.

Qais Ahmed then played an 18-run cameo off 13 balls, laced with two boundaries and one six before Naseer returned to end his brief stay on the crease.

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Nabi was the only ray of hope for Afghanistan as they lost three more wickets in quick succession with 128 runs on the board.

Afghanistan needed 39 runs from 13 balls with one wicket in hand.

Nabi took control and knitted a tenth wicket partnership with the last man Fazalhaq Farooqi, who got to play only two balls during his stay on the crease.

Nabi struck Junaid Siddique for 19 runs in the penultimate over with three boundaries and one six.

However, with 20 required off the last over, he only managed eight runs before getting out on the penultimate ball, ending an entertaining yet fighting knock.

Nabi top-scored for Afghanistan with a blistering 47-run knock which conceded 27 balls and featured five boundaries and two sixes.

Ali Naseer returned with bowling figures of 4-24, while Jawadullah picked 4-26 for UAE.

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