Afghanistan lean on Dad in last-ball win over Kenya
Amsterdam: Afghanistan held their nerve to beat Kenya by one wicket off the final ball of their ICC World Cricket League First Division match in Amstelveen.
The one-day tournament for the world’s leading nations below the Test elite saw Afghanistan seemingly down and out against 2007 champions Kenya at 134 for six, chasing 234 for victory on Monday.
An equation of 100 more runs to win off 19 overs with just four wickets standing did not favour Afghanistan, whose rapid rise up the global cricket ladder saw them competing at this year’s World Twenty20 in the Caribbean.
Samiullah Shenwari, with a career-best 82, kept Afghanistan in the contest but when he fell to Nehemiah Odhiambo it seemed Kenya were poised for their first win of the tournament.
Mohammad Nabi maintained Afghanistan’s momentum with 47 off 42 balls but there were several twists still to come.
Nabi fell to Jimmy Kamande and Afghanistan now needed 13 to win off 14 balls with two wickets standing.
The ninth-wicket duo of Khaliq Dad (18 not out) and Hamid Hassan levelled the scores.
But, with one run required off two balls, Hassan was caught off Kamande.
However, as the batsmen had crossed, Dad was now on strike and his swept singe off the last ball saw Afghanistan to victory.
Earlier, Collins Obuya top scored for Kenya with 60 and Thomas Odoyo struck a 33-ball 52 to take the Africans to 233 for seven – their highest score of the tournament to date.
“It’s very disappointing to lose a game like that especially as we gave it our all,” said Kenya captain Maurice Ouma. “It was the little errors here and there that cost us and another defeat is not nice to take.”
Meanwhile, Kevin O’Brien became the second Ireland batsman to complete 1,000 ODI runs as the defending champions beat Scotland by five wickets to make it three wins from three at the tournament.
Ireland, chasing a modest 118 for victory, lost five wickets in the process but O’Brien’s unbeaten 41 saw them home in Voorburg.
O’Brien, in his 40th ODI, became the second Ireland batsman after Willian Porterfield to score 1,000 runs at this level.
“They’re all hard-fought runs against some very good teams around the world,” O’Brien said.
“Hopefully, I can just build on it for the future, including the ICC Cricket World Cup next year in the sub-continent.”
In Rotterdam, Eric Szwarczynski’s career-best 84 not out was the cornerstone of the Netherlands’s seven-wicket win over Canada that gave the tournament hosts a second victory in three matches but left the North Americans still searching for a first success.
Szwarczynski hit seven fours and a six off 121 deliveries as the Dutch, chasing 169 to win, reached their target with more than seven overs to spare.
The top two sides from the pool phase will qualify for the final in Amstelveen on July 10 with the third-fourth place playoff in Rotterdam on the same day.