Rahman, Shah spin Leopards to second win
Spinners Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rahmat Shah spun the Nangarhar Leopards to a much-needed win, with the pair plotting a 15-run victory over Kabul Zwanan in the Gulbahar Afghanistan Premier League (APL) at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday night.
The 17-year-old off-spinner Rahman and leg-spinner Shah three wickets apiece as the Leopards arrested their sequence of three defeats, with their second win.
It seemed left-handed opener Hazratullah Zazai had taken a special liking to the Leopards as he, in the company of Luke Ronchi, carted the bowlers around to cut a large shard of the 183-run target.
Another magnum opus following that 124 against the same opponents lay in store but a fine catch by Shah, running in from the boundary line, ended his stay of 40 from 22 deliveries. Zazai's knock was peppered with five boundaries and two sixes.
Meanwhile, Laurie Evans, who has been in sublime form, was castled by Zahir Khan. New Zealander Ronchi, who has had a torrid time with the bat, earned a reprieve after countryman Anton Devcich fluffed a sharp chance at long on, to score a half-century. But he couldn't capitalise on it, falling to a googly from Shah.
Earlier, the way the Leopards' openers Devcich and Johnson Charles were going, a 200 plus total was a probability. But the Zwanan bowlers managed to put the brakes on the wheels.
The Leopards eventually ended up with 182 for the loss of five wickets, after Rashid Khan had again opted to bowl.
The Leopards were six runs short of the total they had posted when the two sides had met earlier in the tournament. Then, the Leopards had mustered 188 for five on the back of Devcich's unbeaten 94, only to be trumped by Zazai's epic.
Southpaw Devcich again put the skates on with 77 from 46 deliveries with eight boundaries and five sixes and was looking good for a century. But he mistimed a pull and lobbed a high return catch to medium pacer Muslim Musa.
Devcich and Charles had put on 115 runs for the opening wicket and then Charles departed, caught by Colin Ingram off Zamir Khan for 43 from 27 deliveries with four sixes and a boundary.
Hashmatullah Shahidi made an unbeaten 23-ball 29 with three boundaries and a six.
Left-arm pacer Wayne Parnell had a horrid night but the South African still managed to scalp two wickets, those of opposition skipper Ben Cutting and Rahmat Shah.
Parnell, who suffered the early onslaught from Devcich, had Cutting's stump in half following a well-pointed yorker.
Nangarhar Leopards: 182 for 5 in 20 overs (Anton Devcich 77, Johnson Charles 43, Hashmatullah Shahidi 29 not out, Wayne Parnell 2-47) beat Kabul Zwanan: 167 for 9 in 20 overs (Luke Ronchi 50, Hazratullah Zazai 40, Mujeeb Ur Rahman 3-29, Rahmat Shah 3-25, Mitchell McClenaghan 2-24) by 15 runs.