Afghanistan shows nerves of steel to beat Kenya by one wicket off last ball

ICC Media Release
Tue, Jul 6, 2010 10:22 AM

Afghanistan shows nerves of steel to beat Kenya by one wicket off last ball
Afghanistan proved to be a team with nerves of steel as it defeated Kenya by one wicket off the last ball in a third round thriller of the ICC World Cricket League Division 1 in Amstelveen on Monday.

Chasing 234 runs for victory at the VRA ground in its first-ever ODI against the 2007 champion, Afghanistan was down and out when it was reduced to 134-6 in 31 overs, needing another 100 runs from 19 overs.

Samiullah Shenwari kept the Asian side's head above water with a career-best 82 off 118 balls with nine fours but when he became Nehemiah Odhiambo's 50th wicket at this level it looked like Kenya was the favourite to record what would have been its first win of the tournament.

But Mohammad Nabi had other ideas. He hammered three fours and two sixes in a rapid 42-ball 47 to maintain Afghanistan's interest in proceedings.

The wheel was turning back in Afghanistan's favour but there was a further twist when Nabi became one of two victims for Jimmy Kamande, Afghanistan needed 13 runs off 14 balls at that stage with two wickets standing and at that point the ninth wicket pair of Khaliq Dad (18 not out) and Hamid Hassan batted sensibly to level the scores.

With one run required off two balls for the win, Hassan fell to Kamande when he was caught inside the 30-yard circle while attempting to clear the fielders. However, Dad, who had crossed when Rakeep Patek was completing the catch, kept a cool head and swept the last ball of the match for a single and bring a famous victory for Afghanistan in front of more than 250 very vocal supporters.

Earlier, Collins Obuya top scored for Kenya with 60 and Thomas Odoyo struck a 33-ball 52 with five fours and two sixes to help their side to 233-7 which was its highest score of the tournament to date.

Kenya captain Maurice Ouma, who scored 40 and took four catches behind the wickets, was adjudged player of the match, and reflecting on his side's defeat, he said: "It's very disappointing to lose a game like that especially as we gave it our all but there were plenty of positives to take from it from our side.

"Collins Obuya and Thomas Odoyo batted really well and it was great to see them play so well, two senior players really leading from the front. Nehemiah Odhiambo bowled well and that is what we want from him as, together with Thomas, he is the spearhead of our attack.

"In the end it was the little errors here and there that cost us and another defeat is not nice to take but there are three games left for us in this tournament and if we can continue to improve like we did today then we will be able to take plenty away from this tournament after all."

Meanwhile, Kevin O'Brien became the second Ireland batsman to complete 1,000 ODI runs as the defending champion survived a scare from Scotland in a low-scoring encounter to maintain its unbeaten run.

Chasing a modest 118-run target at VOC ground in Voorburg, Ireland achieved victory for the loss of five wickets in 34.2 overs after slipping from 56-2 to 65-5 in 20 overs.

O'Brien, later declared man of the match, finished unbeaten on a priceless 41. When he reached 13, after staying on 12 for 16 deliveries, he completed 1,000 runs in his 40th appearance to become the second Ireland batsman after William Porterfield to reach the milestone.

A delighted O'Brien later said: "It is obviously an achievement. They're all hard-fought runs against some very good teams around the world. It is a good one to know and hopefully I can just build on it for the future for the next couple of years, including the ICC Cricket World Cup next year in the subcontinent."

On a difficult batting surface against some disciplined bowling and on a beautiful day weather-wise, Scotland's batsmen found themselves all at sea for much of their innings on a pitch that offered assistance to the bowlers.

While battling to hang in there and survive its full quota of overs, it failed to take its batting powerplay until it was mandatory to do so, in the 46th over, by which time Scotland had already slipped to 118-8 before being dismissed six runs later with 16 deliveries going unused.

Neil McCallum showed a lot of courage and patience to top score with a sedate 49 that came off 94 deliveries. Out of Scotland's eight fours, the 32-year-old hit six and each boundary was a treat to watch. The other batsman to reach double figures was Dougie Lockhart who scored 19 off 68 balls.

Ireland's bowlers made optimum use of the favourable conditions and returned with impressive figures. Trent Johnston recorded figures of 10-3-18-2 and Nigel Jones had figures of 10-3-19-2. O'Brien, Alex Cusack and John Mooney picked up a wicket each while Scotland opener Preston Mommsen (4) was run-out due to some athletic fielding by Jones.

In turn, Ireland started confidently with Paul Stirling hitting a couple of exquisite shots before Matthew Parker's double strike off successive deliveries pegged back the batting side. Stirling and O'Brien carried the score from 12-2 to 56-2 before Stirling's dismissal led to two more quick wickets as Ireland slipped to 65-5.

However, those turned out to be Scotland's last successes as O'Brien took control of proceedings and slowly but confidently steered Ireland to success which has put it on top of the table with three successive victories.

O'Brien's 41 came off 84 balls and included five fours and a six. Together with John Mooney (20 not out), O'Brien added 55 runs in 85 deliveries. Stirling's 37 included seven punishing boundaries off 43 deliveries.

For Scotland, Drummond and Parker picked up two wickets apiece conceding 23 and 42 runs respectively.

Drummond was disappointed with the result. He said: "We knew it was a difficult wicket to bat on. I think 150 or 160 would have been an interesting chase as there would have been more pressure on the batsmen to score quicker.

"We got five wickets but once the ball got softer, batting became much easier. Also, the bowlers didn't bowl consistently and missed the right areas otherwise we might have taken 10 wickets.

"It's a reality check for us and I don't think we have played as well as we can. I think the best is yet to come from us and hopefully we'll be able to put together for the next game against Kenya."

At VOC in Rotterdam, a career-best 84 not out by Eric Szwarczynski guided the Netherlands to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over Canada. It was the home side's second win in three matches while Canada, which finished second in last year's ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier for the WCL divisions 1 and 2, is still searching for its first win.

Chasing 169 runs for victory, the home side achieved victory in 42.4 overs. Szwarczynski hit seven fours and a six off 121 deliveries and added 70 runs in an unbroken fourth-wicket partnership with Bas Zuiderent who scored 35 not out. For the second wicket with Tom Cooper (35), Szwarczynski put on 91 runs.

Earlier, Canada's 168 revolved around captain Ashish Bagai's 71 before he was the last batsman out. He hit seven fours from 132 balls as the North Americans lost their last eight wickets for 107 runs.

For the Netherlands, Bradley Kruger and Mark Jonkman took three wickets each conceding 21 and 39 runs, respectively, while Adeel Raja bagged 2-26.

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