Afghanistan won by 10 wickets    Getty Images
Afghanistan won by 10 wickets Getty Images

Led by Asghar Stanikzai, Afghanistan won their final match in the Intercontinental Cup, defeating UAE by 10 wickets. Afghanistan, along with Ireland, were handed full-membership by ICC and will soon make their debut in the longest format. Afghanistan’s innings was decorated with three centuries and a half-century.

After UAE put Afghanistan to bat, the latter posted a huge total of 510 for 9 decl. Ihsanullah (124), Rahmat Shah (103) and Stanikzai (114) scored centuries. Afsar Zazai batted well with the tail, and as he completed his half-century, Stanikzai declared their innings. Ahmed Raza registered best figures of 5 for 148 for UAE.

Defending the score, Rashid Khan and Zahir Khan ran through the UAE batting, picking up three-wicket hauls. Afghanistan asked UAE to follow on.

UAE this time put up a better batting display but could not set a target of more than 21 runs. Chirag Suri (81), Rohan Mustafa (68), Rameez Shahzad (46) and Adnan Mufti (41) tried their level best but could not save UAE s sinking ship. Rashid picked up 5 for 83, finishing with 8 wickets from the match. Ahmadi and Ihsanullah then took the side easily to victory, batting for 5.3 overs.

Speaking of the victory, Stanikzai told The National, We took this I-Cup against the UAE as part of that preparation with a two-week camp that only focused on fitness and skills. The I-Cup was a good example on how well we played to achieve the result we wanted. We have played the four-day format three times and won it twice and was runner-up in the other.

Talking about Test matches, he said, We have faced several challenges to reach where we are today and to play Test [cricket] is another challenge which we are ready to face. Obviously the first few Tests will be very tough for us. We have been preparing for it since the announcement was made six months ago. We are excited and waiting for the first Test to be announced. If we are hosting it, we would be playing in either India or the UAE, where we have a big following, but that s only my thoughts.