Afghanistan make it to Super Eights with dominating win over PNG

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Pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi’s stellar three-wicket performance and an impressive innings by Gulbadin Naib led Afghanistan to a convincing seven-wicket victory over Papua New Guinea (PNG) in their ICC T20 World Cup clash in Trinidad and Tobago.

Afghanistan, with this win, secured their spot in the Super Eights alongside West Indies. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s losses to both Afghanistan and WI saw them crash out of the tournament.

Chasing a modest target of 96, Afghanistan faced an early setback with the quick dismissals of Rahmanullah Gurbaz (11 off 7 balls) and Ibrahim Zadran (0), leaving them at 22/2 in 2.5 overs.

However, Gulbadin Naib and Azmatullah Omarzai steadied the innings, taking the score to 50 in 7.3 overs before Omarzai departed for 13 off 18 balls. Afghanistan was at 55/3 in 8.4 overs.

Naib, in a solid partnership with Mohammed Nabi, guided Afghanistan to victory, with Naib scoring an unbeaten 49 off 36 balls, supported by Nabi’s 16 not out off 23 balls. Afghanistan reached 101/3 in 15.1 overs.

For PNG, Alei Nao, Semo Kamea, and Norman Vanua claimed a wicket each.

In the first innings, Afghanistan’s decision to field first paid off as PNG struggled from the start. Skipper Assad Vala was run out for just three runs, followed by Lega Siaka and Sese Bau dismissed for golden ducks by Farooqi, leaving PNG at 17/4 in 3.1 overs.

Despite a brief partnership between Tony Ura and Chad Soper, PNG lost wickets at regular intervals. Kiplin Doriga’s efforts with the bat, scoring 27 off 32 balls, were in vain as PNG was bowled out for 95 in 19.5 overs.

Farooqi impressed with figures of 3/16 in four overs, supported by Naveen ul Haq’s 2/4 in 2.5 overs and Noor Ahmed’s 1/14 in four overs.

PNG’s total was never enough to trouble Afghanistan, who chased it down comfortably to secure their third win in as many matches.

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