Intercontinental Cup – Afghanistan makes the way to win through bowlers
Afghanistan cruised to a commanding innings and 36 runs victory over the Netherlands in its Intercontinental Cup clash at Sportpark Westvliet in Voorburg, with the bowlers ensuring a two-day finish to the contest on Saturday (July 30).
In the morning Afghanistan resumed on 145 for 4 and extended its first-innings to 312, to swell its lead to 195, and then bowled the Netherlands out for 159 in 43.1 overs.
The Netherlands openers got off to a cautious start but Mohammad Nabi castled Stephan Myburgh back in the 10th over for 23. Nabi then ran Tim Gruijters out for nought before Mirwais Ashraf trapped Peter Borren, the captain, lbw off the very next ball to reduce the home side to 59 for 3 by the 13th over.
Seeing the opportunity, Asghar Stanikzai, the Afghanistan captain, kept attacking the Netherlands’ batsmen with close-in fielders, allowing Dawlat Zadran and Zahir Khan, the chinaman bowler, to apply pressure and bag more wickets.
The Afghanistan bowlers remained on top, and the Netherlands batsmen could get going. Dawlat had three wickets against his name, while Zahir returned figures of 4 for 29 to be the main wicket-takers.
Earlier, Hashmatullah Shahidi, who started the day unbeaten on 9, went on to score 83 off 184 balls, his knock studded with 10 boundaries. Stanikzai, who was unbeaten alongside him at stumps on the first day, was bowled by Rippon for 24 in the 13th over of the morning session. Nabi added another 17 runs to the score before Roelof van der Merwe went past his defence to reduce the visiting team to 224 for 6 at one stage.
But Shahidi and Ashraf then got together to string a seventh-wicket partnership of 68 off 110 balls to frustrate the Netherlands bowlers. Ashraf scored 42 off 64 deliveries and was eventually trapped lbw by Rippon in the 97th over of the Afghanistan innings.
Shahidi did not get any more help from the rest of his teammates, and was the second last batsman to get out just after stretching the total past the 300-run mark.
Rippon accounted for the wickets of Yamin Ahmadzai and Dawlat Zadran to pick up a five-wicket haul. He ended with figures of 5 for 79 in 24.2 overs. However, with the Netherlands bowled out for 117 in its first innings on Friday, the Afghanistan batsmen had given their team a big enough lead, which turned out to be enough for the bowlers to deliver victory on the second day.