Sting Newz Service: Six teams, twelve days and a thriller to top it all. In a chase of 159 in the final of the Shpageeza Cricket League in Kabul on Friday (September 22), the Mis Ainak Knights had the upper hand to boast going into the last over needing 12 runs. With the match changing hands practically every over, Tendai Chatara, the Zimbabwean fast bowler, came back in for the final over and snatched it for the Band-e-Amir Dragons.
Starting with a couple of tight deliveries, he conceded only singles, bringing the equation down to 10 off the last four. His countryman, Sikandar Raza, was run-out off the third ball. Despite some further see-sawing with a no ball as well off the penultimate delivery, he managed to hold onto his nerve and seal the deal for his side.
The spin twins, Rashid Khan (4-0-22-1) and Shahidullah (3-0-17-0) put a firm grip on the scoring in the middle overs, pulling things back after a quick start. Mohammad Nabi then came along, ganged up with Raza and rescued his side from 92 for 5 to stitch together a 28-ball 46-run stand for the sixth wicket.
Earlier in the day, the Dragons slipped from a position of strength of 72 for no loss to 129 for 6. The wrecker-in-chief was another tweaker, Zakir Khan, spinning a web around the middle order to pick up a three-fer. A wagging tail saw them scrapping to something respectable.
The tournament had it all – a massive overseas contingent, high-quality television production and an unprecedented show of solidarity after a suicide bombing a few meters from the ground. Afghanistan, Test cricket’s newest baby, with a T20 league of its own, recognized by the ICC as well this season, now continues to grow from strength to strength. With six teams and foreign coaches in the fray, the success of this league is a major feather in the cap of the Afghanistan Cricket Board. (Courtesy: www.cricbuzz.com)