Amstelveen: Afghanistan proved to be a team with nerves of steel as it defeated Kenya by one wicket off the last ball in a third round thriller of the ICC World Cricket League Division 1 in Amstelveen on Monday.
Chasing 234 runs for victory at the VRA ground in its first-ever ODI against the 2007 champion, Afghanistan was down and out when it was reduced to 134-6 in 31 overs, needing another 100 runs from 19 overs.
Samiullah Shenwari kept the Asian side’s head above water with a career-best 82 off 118 balls with nine fours but when he became Nehemiah Odhiambo’s 50th wicket at this level it looked like Kenya was the favourite to record what would have been its first win of the tournament.
But Mohammad Nabi had other ideas. He hammered three fours and two sixes in a rapid 42-ball 47 to maintain Afghanistan’s interest in proceedings.
The wheel was turning back in Afghanistan’s favour but there was a further twist when Nabi became one of two victims for Jimmy Kamande, Afghanistan needed 13 runs off 14 balls at that stage with two wickets standing and at that point the ninth wicket pair of Khaliq Dad (18 not out) and Hamid Hassan batted sensibly to level the scores.
With one run required off two balls for the win, Hassan fell to Kamande when he was caught inside the 30-yard circle while attempting to clear the fielders. However, Dad, who had crossed when Rakeep Patek was completing the catch, kept a cool head and swept the last ball of the match for a single and bring a famous victory for Afghanistan in front of more than 250 very vocal supporters.
Earlier, Collins Obuya top scored for Kenya with 60 and Thomas Odoyo struck a 33-ball 52 with five fours and two sixes to help their side to 233-7 which was its highest score of the tournament to date.
Kenya captain Maurice Ouma, who scored 40 and took four catches behind the wickets, was adjudged player of the match, and reflecting on his side’s defeat, he said: "It’s very disappointing to lose a game like that especially as we gave it our all but there were plenty of positives to take from it from our side.
Collins Obuya and Thomas Odoyo batted really well and it was great to see them play so well, two senior players really leading from the front. Nehemiah Odhiambo bowled well and that is what we want from him as, together with Thomas, he is the spearhead of our attack.