All-Round Show from Rashid Khan Takes Kabul Zwanan to Final
Kabul Zwanan’s innings was action-packed as wickets fell at regular intervals, but it did not stop their batsmen from playing the big shots. The openers got them off to a quick start but failed to convert it into a big one. Wayne Parnell walked in at No. 3 following his performance in the previous game but fell early. Colin Ingram was the top-scorer of the innings with 44, as he maintained the momentum even after wickets fell around him. It only showed the true nature of the surface, that has provided a lot of runs for the batsmen. At 125 for six in the 15th over, Kabul Zwanan were in danger of getting an under-par score. That is when Rashid joined Laurie Evans and brought them back into the game. The young Afghan sensation Rashid Khan rose to the occasion in style, smashing 19-ball unbeaten 35 to propel Kabul to imposing a total of 192 and then strike 4 wickets for 20 runs to keep Paktia Panthers away from the hunt. The excellent display from Kabul’s skipper contributed towards another one-sided affair in the semi-final stage of APL as Kabul Zwanan defeated Paktia Panthers by 90 runs.
A collective effort from Kabul’s batsmen took them to a competitive total on a friendly batting track. Zazai gave them the starting push, then Colin Ingram (44) and Laurie Evans (31) tidied them over in the middle stage, while Rashid Khan gave them the much-needed flourish in the end which helped Kabul reach 192 for 9. Shahid Afridi was the pick of the bowlers from Paktia returning with figures of 2 for 25.
Paktia Panthers were largely good in the field, having taken a few good catches. However, some of their bowlers were expensive in spite of taking wickets. Udana too two but conceded 57 in his four overs. The veteran Shahid Afridi’s two for 25 was the best effort. A lot depended on Mohammad Shahzad in the run-chase and Paktia Panthers had to bear the disappointment of losing him early. Having faced some injury issues, Shahzad attacked Parnell in the first over but only managed to find Ingram at deep mid-wicket. That was a huge scalp for Kabul Zwanan!
Afridi carried on his form with the ball to batting as well, top scoring for Paktia Panthers at 27 runs from 16 deliveries. Only two other batsmen were able to cross into two-digit figures. There was no big partnership from Paktia’s players and they kept losing wickets at regular intervals meaning Paktia was never in the chase.
Both semi-finals have been largely one-sided affairs. With two strong teams in the final, one hopes for an evenly contested game, worthy of the occasion.
Brief scores: Kabul Zwanan192 for nine in 20 overs (Colin Ingram 44, Laurie Evans 31, Rashid Khan 35 not out; Isuru Udana 2 for 57, Zia-ur-Rehman 2 for 35, Shahid Afridi 2 for 25) beat Paktia Panthers 102 all out in 14.5 overs (Shahid Afridi 27; Rashid Khan 4 for 20, Muslim Musa 2 for 14) by 90 runs.