Shahzad, Shafiqullah spur Afghanistan to victory
CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh (AP) — Afghanistan earned its first win in the World Twenty20 and kept alive slim hopes of making the Super 10 with an emphatic seven-wicket victory over Hong Kong on Tuesday.
Both teams dropped their opening Group A qualifiers on Sunday with Bangladesh beating Afghanistan and Hong Kong losing to Nepal. Hong Kong can no longer advance.
Half centuries by Mohammad Shahzad and Shafiqullah spurred Afghanistan, which chased down 154 with two overs to spare.
Shahzad, dropped on 24, went on to 68 off 53 balls with six fours and three sixes before he was brilliantly caught at the boundary by a diving Irfan Ahmed. Shafiqullah hit a belligerent unbeaten 51 off 24 balls to finish off the game in quick time.
Hong Kong’s total of 153-8 centred on a 60-run third-wicket stand between Mark Chapman (38) and Waqas Barkat (32) before both fell to the offspin of Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi, who took 2-27.
“I didn’t play well in the last two matches so the coach told me to take my time,” said Shahzad, who was out first ball against Bangladesh. “It was a good 50 for me and it was a good win for us ... hopefully we can make it to the next round.”
Hong Kong’s Aizaz Khan had a forgetful match as he not only spilled a sitter of Shahzad’s skier in the sixth over, he was later smashed for three sixes by Shafiqullah in the 17th over, which went for 24 runs.
Afghanistan 154-3 in 18 overs (Mohammad Shahzad 68, Shafiqullah 51 not out; Tanwir Afzal 1-19), def. Hong Kong 153-8 in 20 (Mark Chapman 38, Waqas Barkat 32; Mohammad Nabi 2-27, Shapoor Zadran 2-27) by 7 wickets.