Afghanistan's wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad was the top scorer with 38 runs    AFP (File Photo)
Afghanistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad was the top scorer with 38 runs AFP (File Photo)

Visitors Afghanistan came up with a hard-fought, but match-winning performance against hosts United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the first of the three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series at the ICC Academy ground in Dubai on Wednesday. Afghanistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad was the top scorer with 38 runs, while Karim Janat was the top wicket-taker with three wickets for 31 runs. As for UAE, it was Mohammad Shahzad, who too claimed three wickets for 34 runs, while Rameez Shahzad was the top scorer with 49 runs. However, it wasn’t enough to see them earn a win in the opening tie, as Afghanistan draw first blood in the series.

Earlier, Afghan skipper Asghar Stanikzai won the coin toss, and elected to bat first, as the openers were off to a decent start, losing their opening wicket in the form of Najeeb Tarakai for mere 11 in the seventh over, who was followed by Mohammad Shahzad for 38 in the 10th over, while the same over, saw the dismissal of Samiullah Shenwari for an unfortunate duck. He was followed by Asghar Stanikzai for mere 13 in the very next over, as the score read 65 for 4. However, it was not until the score of 105, when Karim Janat was unfortunately run out for 25 in the 17th over, while Mohammad Nabi was the final man to fall for 26 in the final over, as Afghanistan finished their innings on 161 for the loss of 6 wickets in the allotted 20 overs.

FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: UAE vs Afghanistan, 1st T20I at Dubai

In reply, UAE were off a steady start as well, as it was not until 26 runs on the board, when they los their opening wicket in the form of Mohammed Qasim for 10 in the fourth over, followed by fellow opener Rohan Mustafa for 25 in the seventh over. The same over also saw the fall of Mohammad Shahzad for a mere couple. However, it was followed by a 55-run stand between Shaiman Anwar and Rameez Shahzad, before Anwar fell for 34 in the 15th over.

Anwar was followed by Amjad Gul for a mere couple in the 16th over, while 2 overs later, it was skipper Amjad Javed, who fell for mere 6. The final wicket to fall in the innings was that of Rameez Shahzad for a brilliant 49 in the 19th over, as the score read 135 for the loss of 7 wickets, while the could only manage to reach the total of 150 within the allotted 20 overs, thus falling short bu 11 runs, as Afghansitan drew the first blood in the series.

Man of the Match: Karim Janat (Afghanistan)

Brief scores:

Afghanistan 161 for 6 in 20 overs (Mohammad Shahzad 38, Najibullah Zadran 31*; Mohammad Shahzad 3 for 34) beat UAE (Rameez Shahzad 49, Shaiman Anwar 34; Karim Janat 3 for 31) by 11 runs.