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Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s ton lifts Afghanistan to thump UAE in first T20I

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SHARJAH: Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s quickfire century, followed by a tight bowling display propelled Afghanistan to thump the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the first T20I here on Friday.

Put into bat first, Afghanistan piled up a massive total of 203/3 in the allotted 20 overs, courtesy of a huge second-wicket partnership between Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran.

The touring side, however, got off to a dismal start to their innings as they lost their returning opener Hazratullah Zazai in the fourth over with 31 runs on the board.

The left-handed opener, known for his aggressive batting approach, failed to live up to the expectations and could score a mere 13 off 16 deliveries with the help of one boundary and a six.

Skipper Zadran then joined Gurbaz in the middle and anchored the innings with a well-crafted partnership.

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The duo launched a baton charge on the UAE bowlers and added 137 runs in just 77 deliveries before Rahmanullah Gurbaz perished in the 17th over.

He remained the top-scorer for Afghanistan with a 52-ball 100 which featured seven boundaries and as many sixes.

Zadran, on the other hand, stood his ground firm before finally perishing on the penultimate delivery of the innings.

He scored an anchoring 59 in 43 deliveries, laced up with four boundaries and two sixes.

All-rounder Azmatullah Omarzai added valuable runs at the backend with his 19-run cameo which came off just eight deliveries and was peppered with two boundaries and a six.

For UAE, Aayan Afzal Khan, Junaid Siddique and Muhammad Jawadullah managed to pick up a wicket apiece.

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Chasing a mammoth 204, the UAE could only score 131 runs in response and thus succumbed to a hammering defeat in the series opener.

The home side had a disastrous start to the run chase as they were reduced to 56/4 in 10 overs, forcing them to sport a defensive approach.

Vriitya Aravind offered some resistance with his half-century but his cautious knock was not enough to sail his side over the line.

He top-scored for the UAE with a 64-ball 70 which included seven boundaries and a six.

Fazalhaq Farooqi led the bowling attack for Afghanistan in the first T20I against the UAE with 2/19 while Naveen-ul-Haq and Qais Ahmed made one scalp each.

READ: Michael Vaughan criticizes ‘underachieving’ India

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