Defending champions Afghanistan defeated Kenya by eight wickets on the penultimate day of its four-day first-class ICC Intercontinental Cup match at the ICC Academy, Dubai Sports City, on Tuesday.

It was the last league match of the tournament, with the final to be played between Afghanistan and three-time former champion Ireland in Dubai from 10 to14 December.

The victory means Afghanistan have won five of their seven league matches in the competition, which started in June 2011. They beat Canada (by nine wickets), Netherlands (by three wickets), Scotland (by an innings and five runs), Namibia (by ten wickets) and Kenya (by eight wickets), and drew its encounters against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ireland.

Afghanistan entered the match against Kenya in second position in the table, and were guaranteed a spot in the final regardless of the outcome of the match.

In a low-scoring match dominated by the bowlers, Afghanistan bowlers Mohammad Yamin Ahmadzai and Sayed Shirzad returned match figures of 5-40 and 5-45 respectively to restrict Kenya to 162 and 140 in its two innings.

Despite fast bowler Ragheb Aga's five for 46, Afghanistan took a crucial first innings lead of 72 thanks to a maiden first-class century by 20-year old Rahmat Shah (144), and then chased down the target of 68 for the loss of two wickets.

Afghanistan will face three-time champions Ireland in the tournament final, to be played at the ICC Academy, Dubai Sports City, from 10 to 14 December. The sides have met twice in this format to date, with Afghanistan recording the only victory.