Afghans blast past Dutch in opening game
A late blitz from Najibullah Zadran and Shafiqullah lifted Afghanistan to a daunting total of 162 after a tough start in their opening match against the Netherlands, and the Dutch chase fell apart in the later overs after Ben Cooper had provided them with a flying start.
Having won the toss and inserted the Afghans, the Netherlands would have been initially pleased with their decision, as early wickets fell and the opening powerplay yielded just 34 runs and Mudassar Bukhari removed Mohammad Shazad and Asghar Stanikzai in this first two overs.
Narwaz Mangal then holed out to Roelof van der Merwe trying to turn the momentum, but Shenwari and Mohhamad Nabi built an accelerating partnership through the middle overs to take Afghanistan into triple figures by the end of the 16th over.
With wickets in hand going into the final four over there were always likely to be fireworks, but the extent of the late onslaught was remarkable. Najibullah Zadran announce his arrival at the crease with a huge six over long on off van der Merwe, and continued in like fashion. With Shenwari supporting in their breakneck partnership, Zadran smashed the hapless van der Merwe for three more maximums in his next over.
The pair put on 55 more runs in the space of 22 balls, to take Afghanistan to 149 going into the last over. Ahsan Malik removed both in consecutive balls at the start of the final over, but despite also picking up the wicket of Mirwais Ashraf Malik's final over still went for 13 runs, all from the bat of Shafiqullah, whose three ball cameo took his side to an imposing 162.
The Dutch reply started with promise, the opening owerplay going for 51 runs despite the early loss of Myburgh. The scoring was driven by Ben Cooper's 23 ball 36 however, and when he failed to clear Dawlat Zadran on the long off rope off Sharafuddin the momentum turned decisively. Swart was run out the following over for a belaboured 18 off 25, and Peter Borren became Sharafudin's next victim, stumped off a slower shorter delivery after having been reprieved in Sharafudin's previous over, called back after being caught at short fine leg off what proved to be a no ball.
Van der Merwe's day got no better, caught in the deep for one Mohhamad Nabi, and Sharafudin kept the parade of batsman going having Pieter Seelaar stumped to leave the Dutch 7 down still 55 short with five overs to go. Any hope was extinguished with the end of Welsley Barresi, who fell victim to what even at this early stage can confidently be said to be the worst decision of the tournament. A quicker ball fired well down leg by Nabi, Barresi swept half-heartedly and was, after raucous appealing, given caught behind off what was pretty clearly an untouched leg side wide.
With well over ten an over required the rest was mere formality, Hamid Hassan and Dawlat Zadran wrapping up the tail, Michael Rippon's defiant 17 from 12 little more than face-saving as the Dutch subsided to a 32 run defeat.