The UAE secured victory against Afghanistan with a scoreline of 166 for 7, propelled by quick-fire fifties from the openers Muhammad Waseem and Aryan Lakra. The stellar performance included noteworthy four-wicket hauls by Muhammad Jawadullah and Ali Naseer. This triumph not only leveled the three-match T20I series at 1-1 but also showcased the UAE’s all-encompassing prowess.
The UAE’s dominance unfolded as Waseem and Lakra established a commanding opening partnership, amassing 72 runs in 8.3 overs. Captain Waseem, the aggressor in the duo, showcased his prowess with a brisk 53 off 32 balls, adorned with four fours and three sixes. Despite the early setback caused by Qais Ahmad’s quick strikes, Lakra, after a subdued start, assumed control. However, the UAE faced setbacks in forming substantial partnerships in the middle order until the late surge led by Akif Raja and Lakra.
The pair, batting at the eighth wicket, orchestrated an unbeaten 39-run partnership off a mere 19 balls, steering the UAE to a commendable total of 166. Lakra concluded the innings unbeaten with an impressive 47-ball 63, featuring three fours and four sixes.
Afghanistan’s response commenced with openers Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz setting a brisk pace, reaching 47 for 0 in five overs. Nevertheless, Naseer’s intervention proved pivotal, altering the course of the game. Gurbaz fell victim to Naseer’s second delivery, and subsequent overs saw Ibrahim Zadran and Zazai departing. Jawadullah further intensified the pressure by dismissing Najibullah Zadran and Darwish Rasooli in quick succession, leaving Afghanistan at 99 for 6 in the 15th over, requiring 65 runs from 30 balls.
While Mohammad Nabi’s aggressive innings of 47 off 27 balls added a hint of suspense, wickets continued to tumble. Naseer returned to the attack, eliminating Qais, while Jawadullah claimed Noor Ahmad and Naveen-ul-Haq on consecutive deliveries, signaling Afghanistan’s downfall. Nabi, facing the last over with Afghanistan needing 20 runs, managed only eight off four balls before succumbing on the fifth, resulting in Afghanistan being bowled out for 155. Naseer’s exceptional performance earned him the well-deserved Player of the Match title. The third and final T20I is scheduled to take place in Sharjah on January 2.