Afghanistan won the series 2-1 with a four-wicket victory over the UAE at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on January 2, 2024. Afghanistan edged out the UAE by four wickets to clinch T20I series 2-1 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
Najibullah Zadran was the standout player for Afghanistan, sealing their victory with a couple of maximums off Junaid Siddique’s bowling to help his team successfully chase the 126-run target with nine balls remaining. The visitors wrapped up their innings at 128-6.
Afghanistan had reached a score of 103 for six in 16.5 overs when Mohammad Nabi was dismissed. It was then that Najibullah took charge, coolly smashing an unbeaten 28 runs in just 13 balls, including two fours and two sixes.
All five UAE bowlers shared the wickets, with Siddique claiming two while Aayan Afzal Khan, Muhammad Jawadullah, Ali Naseer and Dhruv Parashar each taking one wicket.
The Afghan batsmen Hazratullah Zazai (36 off 32), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (20 off 14) and captain Ibrahim Zadran (23 off 30) made a steady start before facing resistance from the home team’s bowlers.
Siddique sparked the breakthrough, dismissing Gurbaz thanks to Aryan Lakra’s catch. Naseer and Parashar then joined forces, sending the top three back to the dugout. With a tough situation on their hands, Afghanistan turned to Najibullah who delivered a phenomenal performance to lead his team to victory.
In their own batting effort, the Afghan team saw quick bowler Naveen-ul-Haq make an immediate impact with two consecutive wickets. He managed to get Aryan Lakra out and trap Vriitya Aravind in front of the stumps, while Fazalhaq Farooqi leaked 15 runs in just one over.
Tanish Suri made a strong start by hitting a boundary and taking a single off Naveen’s first two deliveries. However, he went on to play a maiden against Farooqi in the next over as UAE reached 22 for two after three overs.
Unfortunately, Suri (7 off 12) was unable to maintain his momentum and fell victim to Naveen’s short rising delivery which was caught by Azmatullah Omarzai at deep third man. Parashar suffered his second successive duck when Omarzai got past him.
Qais Ahmad stepped up his game during the middle overs, taking down Waseem for 27 as he charged forward. This resulted in only Gurbaz being able to whip off the bails and half of UAE’s team finding themselves back in the dugout with a score of 56.
Despite Hameed (12) and Aayan (10) being bowled out by Qais, he managed to return with impressive figures of three for 24 from his four overs, leaving UAE struggling at 75 for seven after just 12.5 overs. Though Naseer (21), Akif Raja (10), and Jawadullah (13 not out) put up a fight towards the end, it was still not enough to save UAE from finishing at 126 for nine.