Zwanan keep Knights winless with narrow victory
It was a case of coming so close but yet so far for the Kandahar Knights as they failed to break their duck in the Gulbahar Afghanistan Premier League (APL).
The Asghar Afghan-led side suffered a heartbreaking two-run defeat at the hands of Kabul Zwanan at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday night.
The latest loss meant that the Knights are yet to open their account in the tournament after three matches.
Meanwhile, for Zwanan, it was their third win in the competition and their second on the trot after they had beaten the Nangarhar Leopards the other night.
Chasing 174, Asghar Afghan made a fighting 52 from 32 balls with four boundaries and equal number of sixes and although Nasir Jamal (38) and the jettisoned Riki Wessels (46 not out) gave them hope, the Knights fell short.
"It is always disappointing to get that close. It was almost our first win of the tournament. To get that close and to lose by two runs is quite heartbreaking," said Wessels, who only arrived on Wednesday night and slotted straight into the playing XI after Bangladesh's Mohammad Mithun had failed to get the NOC from the Bangladesh Cricket Board.
"It is not ideal to start any tournament with three losses but it about how you finish at the back end of the tournament. So, if we can come back by winning three or four games, you could be in the semifinals and then the final, where you really want to be," he added.
Earlier, Kabul Zwanan found their way to 173 for the loss of six wickets in their allotment after being told to have first crack at the surface by Asghar Afghan.
And that total was just about enough in the end as the Knights were halted when just in sight of the finish line.
Zwanan owed their total to another fighting knock from Englishman Laurie Evans, who remained unbeaten on 57 from just 29 deliveries with five sixes and two boundaries.
It was his third half-century of the competition.
Kabul Zwanan: 173 for 6 in 20 overs (Laurie Evans 57 not out, Javed Ahmadi 39, Shahidullah 33, Luke Ronchi 25, Sayed Shirzad 3-36, Karim Janat 2-45) beat Kandahar Knights 171 for 7 in 20 overs (Asghar Afghan 52, Riki Wessels 6 not out, Nasir Jamal 38, Shahidullah 2-18, Muslim Musa 2-27, Wayne Parnell 2-34) by 2 runs.