Zahir, Dawlat star in innings win for Afghanistan

Delhi: When Namibia ended the second day of its four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup match at Greater Noida Sports Complex ground on 19 for 2, still 143 behind Afghanistan, the result was a foregone conclusion bar a miracle but Namibia was bowled out for 126 in its second innings, to go down by an innings and 36 runs on Tuesday.

Afghanistan, which had responded to Namibia’s first-innings total of 172 with 334 after Mohammad Shahzad scored 139 in 245 balls, took the 20 points on offer to climb to third spot on the eight-team table, behind Ireland and the Netherlands. Namibia remained on 20 points, one off the bottom with UAE propping up the table.

The third day started with Pikky Ya France, the opener, and Gerhard Erasmus carrying Namibia’s hopes of at least making Afghanistan bat again. They did their bit for nine overs in the morning, before Zahir Khan, the 17-year-old chinaman bowler, sent Erasmus back lbw for 35.

That ended the 57-run stand and left Namibia at 66 for 3, from which end was just over an hour away.

Ya France kept one end up, but at the other, Zahir and Dawlat Zadran wreaked havoc. JP Kotze, the only other batsman to reach double figures, was bowled by Zahir, playing only his second first-class match, for a 17-ball 18, and the bowler followed it up with the scalps of Sarel Burger and Gerrie Snyman, before Dawlat returned to account for Ya France and Nicolaas Scholtz. Ya France batted 91 balls for his 40, showing the kind of application Namibia would have expected from the rest of its top-order batsmen as well.

Mohammad Nabi, who had led the way with the ball in Namibia’s first innings to return 5 for 25 and had taken the two wickets to fall on the second evening, ended with 2 for 37 for the innings, while Zahir had 5 for 31 from eight overs and Dawlat 3 for 7 from just 4.3 overs.

Shahzad was named the Man of the Match.