Afghanistan keep hopes alive with Hong Kong win
Afghanistan have bounced back from their opening day defeat to Bangladesh with a convincing win over Hong Kong today in Chittagong.
Batting first after winning the toss, Hong Kong's innings got off to the worst possible start when Irfan Ahmed was once again dismissed - bowled by Shapoor Zadran - from the first ball of the innings. He is only the second player to be dismissed from the first ball of the innings in consecutive T20Is, the other being Ireland's William Porterfield.
Jamie Atkinson and Waqas Barkat were able to help their team recover from that start though, putting on 42 for the second wicket before Atkinson was out for 31, scored from just 20 balls. Chapman then joined Barkat at the crease and the pair put on 60 for the third wicket, the partnership being broken when Barkat was out for 31.
Chapman went on to score 38 before he was bowled by Dawlat Zadran, and his wicket was the second in something of a collapse that saw Hong Kong lose 4 wickets in 3 overs for 20 runs. Not as severe a collapse as in their match against Nepal, but it set back the momentum gained from the second and third wicket partnerships.
Hong Kong eventually posted 153-8 from their 20 overs, setting what was a potentially tricky target for an Afghan batting line up that imploded against Bangladesh.
There was to be no repeat of the first ball duck that Mohammad Shahzad suffered in the opening match. He batted with uncharacteristic patience at the start of his innings, only hitting out once he got settled in. That difference in approach proved to be exactly what the Afghans needed.
After losing Najeeb Tarakai early on, Shahzad put on 55 for the second wicket with Asghar Stanikzai, who was eventually dismissed for 13. This brought Shafiqullah out to the middle, and he and Shahzad put on 47 for the third wicket before Shahzad was out, having scored 68 from 53 balls.
Shafiqullah hit out once Shahzad was dismissed, eventually finishing the innings unbeaten on 51, scored from just 24 balls. He dominated an unbroken fourth wicket partnership with Afghan captain Mohammad Nabi, who contributed just 6 to a partnership of 38.
The seven wicket win was completed with two overs to spare.
Afghanistan now need to beat Nepal when they clash on Thursday, and will have to hope that Bangladesh lose at least one of their matches against Nepal and Hong Kong if they are to have any hope of making the Super 10 stage.