Paktia Panthers Beat Kabul Zwanan by 6 Wickets to Finish on 2nd Spot
An imposing knock at the top from skipper Shahzad and return to form with the bat for Afridi overshadowed heroics from Colin Ingram and Wayne Parnell as Paktia Panthers defeated Kabul Zwanan by 6 wickets. Chasing a competitive but gettable target of 169 on a batting-friendly turf, Paktia chased off the score losing only 4 wickets with 2 balls to spare.
Kabul Zwanan had Colin Ingram leading the side instead of Rashid Khan and his innings of 83 off 51 balls stood out on the day. The openers Hazratullah Zazai and Luke Ronchi were dismissed early and Wayne Parnell was promoted to No. 3.
Mohammad Shahzad, who has played some amazing innings this season, accounted for the kind of start Paktia wanted at the top with a quick-fire knock of 62 from 37 deliveries. But the good news for Paktia would be the contribution of star icon Afridi with the bat. He hit an unbeaten 19-ball 30 to see his side and gain some confidence before these sides meet again on Saturday for a place in the finals.
In reply, Shahzad was at it again, smashing the bowlers to all parts. Through the tournament, the wicketkeeper-batsman has led his team from the front and powered them to good consistent starts. The only damage the Paktia Panthers faced in the initial overs was Ihsanullah Janat retiring due to an injury.
That did not stop Shahzad, who continued towards the total with Calum MacLeod. Shahzad brought up his fifty off only 32 balls in the ninth over. He was finally dismissed in the 11th over off Parnell when he tried to clear the mid-wicket boundary, where Hazratullah took a brilliant catch, jumping up to hold on to the ball. MacLeod looked good during his 30-ball 35 but edged it to the wicketkeeper while trying to upper-cut Muslim Musa. Seekkuge Prasanna fell soon after and at 117 for three, Kabul Zwanan sensed an opportunity.
Samiullah Shenwari (27) and Shahid Afridi (30 not out) calmed the nerves and finished the job with timely boundaries. It was a welcome sight to see Afridi finding his touch and it augurs well for Paktia Panthers ahead of the semi-final.
Brief scores: Kabul Zwanan168 for four in 20 overs (Wayne Parnell 42, Colin Ingrm 83 not out; Isuru Udana 2 for 33) lost to Paktia Panthers 172 for four in 19.4 overs (Mohammad Shahzad 62, Calum MacLeod 35, Shahid Afridi 30 not out; Wayne Parnell 2 for 37) by six wickets.