Rohan Mustafa’s all-round performance helped the United Arab Emirates (UAE) beat Afghanistan by 16 runs in the first qualifying round match of the T20 format Asia Cup at Khan Saheb Osman Ali Stadium on Friday.Mustafa scored 77 runs with bat and bowled 2.5 overs for three wickets.Chasing a target of 177 runs, Afghanistan finished at 160 for all in 19.5 overs.Karim Sadiq topscored 72 off 48 balls, including eight boundaries and one six, before being bowled out by Mohammad Naveed at 144/7 in 18.1 overs.Mohammad Nabi (23 off 18b; 2×6) and Najibullah Zadran (21 off 14b; 1×6) were the other double digit scorers for Afghanistan.Rohan Mustafa took three wickets for 19 runs. Delivering four-over each, Farhan Ahmed and Mohammad Naveed bagged two wickets apiece for 28 and 29 runs respectively. Amjad Javed and Ahmed Raza took one wicket each for 26 and 32 runs.Opening bat first after winning the toss, the UAE scored a decent
176/4 in 20 overs with opener Rohan Mustafa topscoring 77 runs.Mustafa, who was adjudged man of the match, faced 50 balls to hammer seven boundaries and four sixes in his innings before being caught by Shapoor Zadran off Amir Hamza bowling at 122/3 in 13.2 overs.
The UAE got off to a mesmerising start as they scored 83 runs in 8.5 overs in the opening stand between Mustafa and Muhammad Kaleem.Rashid Khan departed the opening pair bowling out Kaleem who stayed for 25 off 19 balls, including three fours and one six.Mohammad Shahzad and Usman Mushtaq added unbeaten 48 runs in 5 overs in the 5th wicket stand.Shahzad hit unbeaten 25 off 16 balls involving two sixes while
Mushtaq added another unbeaten score of 23 off 20 balls including three boundaries.Number-3 batsman Shaiman Anwar (11 off 10b; 1×4) was another double figure scorer for the UAE.Rashid Khan captured three wickets for 25 runs and Amir Hamza took one wicket for 32 runs, both delivering four overs each.In the 2nd qualifier of the 13th edition Asia Cup, Hong Kong were due to face Oman at the same venue at 7:30pm.ICC’s four Asian associate nations –Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Oman and the UAE – are vying for the lone spot in the main round.The winner of the qualifying round will join the four Asian Test nations — hosts Bangladesh, defending champions Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India – in the main battle.The main round will start on February 24 with Bangladesh taking on India at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur.