Pacers Hamid Hassan and Naveen-ul-Haq shared six wickets between them in impressive bowling spells as Afghanistan crushed Namibia by 62 runs in their Super 12 match of the T20 World Cup 2021 on Sunday. Opting to bat, Afghanistan posted 160 for five thanks to handy contributions from Hazratullah Zazai (33), Mohammad Shahzad (45), Asghar Afghan (31) — who was playing his last international match — and Mohammad Nabi (32 not out). With the ball, the Afghans restricted Namibia to 98 for nine for their second win in the tournament.
Chasing 161, Namibia lost three wickets inside the power play and could never recover from there. Naveen-ul-Haq (3/26) removed Craig Williams (1) and Michael van Lingen (11) early in a spell of 2/2 and then added another wicket later on. Hamid Hassan (3/9 from 4 overs) tormented the Namibia middle-order as he got the wickets of captain Gerhard Erasmus (12), top-scorer David Wiese (26) and JJ Smit (0).
Namibia were 29 for three in 5.2 overs with Gulbadin Naib (2/19) chipping in with the wicket of Jan Loftie-Eaton (11). Star spinner Rashid Khan (1/14 from 4 overs), who was introduced in the eighth over, got Zane Green out for 1 in his first delivery of the day as Namibia found themselves tottering. Green missed the ball completely and he was cleaned up.
The asking rate was rising as Namibia needed 106 from the back end of their innings and having lost four wickets, their problems continued with captain Erasmus getting out in the 11th over as a yorker from Hassan crashed on to his leg stump. Namibia were 56 for five and the match was as good as over by then but an unrelenting Hassan got his second wicket in the form of Smit three balls later.
Earlier, Afghan played a nice little cameo to score 31 off 23 balls in his farewell game, which helped Afghanistan post 160 for five. Afghanistan made a strong start, reaching to 50 for no loss at the end of power play, with the opening pair of Zazai and Shahzad sharing a 53-run stand in 6.4 overs. But Afghanistan fizzled out after that as wickets fell at regular intervals and there was no substantial partnership. They recovered a bit towards the end, scoring 51 from the last five overs, thanks to Afghan. The 33-year-old right-handed batter, who was earlier known as Asghar Stanikzai, has played six Tests, 114 ODIs and 75 T20Is after making debut in 2009.
In his last game for the country, he provided good support to current captain Nabi (32 not out off 17 balls) and their quick-fire 35-run stand took the team’s total past 150-run mark.
Zazai was the more aggressive of the opening duo. He began with a six and a four in the first over bowled by Ruben Trumpelmann and then added three more boundaries and another maximum in the power play.
But just as he was looking ominous, Zazai holed out to deep square leg fielder off Smit in the seventh over. One-down Rahmanullah Gurbaz did not last long as he was out for 4 in the 10th over, trapped LBW off the bowling of Jan Loftie-Eaton. The run-rate dropped as Afghanistan reached to 69 for two at the halfway mark.
Shahzad was out in the 13th over, top-edging Trumpelmann for Bernard Scholtz to take a simple catch. He hit three fours and two sixes during his 45-run knock.
Afghanistan took 13 runs from the 15th over with Afghan clobbering him for a six but they lost the momentum once again as Najibullah Zadran (7) was out at the other end.
Afghan was out in the penultimate over off Trumpelmann after hitting three fours and one six. Several Namibia players shook hands with Afghan while he walked off the ground.
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