We expected fireworks, crackers, lightning and thundering as we approached the business end of the 2018 Afghanistan Premier League. A couple of weeks into the tournament the today was the 1st semi final contested between Balkh Legends and Nangarhar Leopards, at the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium in UAE.
Yesterday, Chris Gayle smashed 73(22) to fire Balkh Legends into the semi-final and today, he continued with his lovely form, scoring his third consecutive 50+ score after captain Mohammad Nabi won the toss and elected to bat first. Gayle scored 54(30) while opening partner Darwish Rasooli took control after Gayle’s dismissal, scoring 78(45).
T20 is all about the good starts, the mighty hitting and the adrenaline rushes. Now, the Leopards did have mighty hitters of the cricket ball, but a good start would’ve been very helpful in chasing down this total, which they sadly couldn’t get. They came out to bat and very quickly, five of their first six batsmen were sent back to the hut with single-digit scores.
Balkh Legends win by a humongous margin of 171 runs and they move into the APL 2018 final.
Once again, it was captain Nabi who should take complete credit. After his good show with the bat, Nabi bowled an opening spell of 3-0-12-3, and in no time, the Legends had their opponents at 23/5, 37/6, 40/7, 53/8, and 62/9. Nabi then brought himself back on and BOOM, he struck with his first delivery to end with 3.1-0-12-4, which are match winning T20 figures on any pitch in the world.
No prizes for guessing who the Man of the Match award went to – Mohammad Nabi, for a fantastic all-round display when needed the most. While collecting the award, he said, “Thanks to our fans for supporting us. It was a good batting track. Today was a big game and we wanted to put pressure on the other team by putting runs on the board. We knew it is a good batting track and we had to bowl good to restrict them.”
APL T20 tweeted after the game:
Ben Cutting of the Nangarhar Leopards bowed out of the tournament, but said that he’d love to be back next year again, as it was a great experience. Semi Final 2 will be played between Paktia Panthers and Kabul Zwanan today, 20th October and you can come back to ReadScoops.com for more update on the 2018 APL T20.
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