T20 World Cup: Afghanistan overcome Namibia as Asghar signs off with a win

By Sports Desk October 31, 2021

Afghanistan got back to winning ways at the T20 World Cup as they beat Namibia by 62 runs in what was the final match of Asghar Afghan's career.

The former skipper announced prior to the Group 2 clash in Dubai that he would retire from all forms of cricket following the conclusion of the contest.

Asghar received a guard of honour in his 75th and final T20I before producing a knock of 31 – taking his overall tally to 1,382 runs – as Afghanistan looked to bounce back from Friday's defeat by Pakistan.

Mohammad Shahzad top-scored with 45 – surpassing 2,000 runs in men's T20I – while Hazratullah Zazai hit 33 and captain Mohammad Nabi was 32 not out as Afghanistan set a target of 160-5.

Namibia were aiming to build on their opening win over Scotland, but their quest suffered an early blow when Naveen-ul-Haq (3-26) bowled Craig Williams and Michael van Lingen within the opening three overs.

Hamid Hassan also claimed three wickets as the Eagles' chase fell way short at 98-9.

David Wiese hit 26 for Namibia, but it was not enough to prevent a first defeat in the Super 12s.

History for Shahzad

Dismissed by Pakistan for just eight, Shahzad had another opportunity to reach 2,000 runs in the short format.

This time, he made no mistake with his knock of 45 making him the first Afghan to achieve the feat – and 12th overall.

Naveen shines

It was always going to take a special effort to chase down Afghanistan's total of 160-5, but Naveen quickly put Namibia on the back foot.

The 22-year-old dismissed Williams and Van Lingen within his opening 10 deliveries, and that set his side well on the way to what was eventually a commanding victory.

Related items

  • Pakistan trio denied permission to feature in Global T20 Canada Pakistan trio denied permission to feature in Global T20 Canada

    Babar Azam is among three players denied permission by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to play in the forthcoming Global T20 Canada due to workload concerns.

    Fellow all-format players Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Afridi will also be absent from the annual competition, which begins next week.

    Asif Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Nawaz have all been cleared to feature by the PCB, who refused fast bowler Naseem Shah permission to play in The Hundred.

    The governing body say the players' welfare is at the forefront of their decision.

    "After taking into consideration Pakistan's busy and packed cricket calendar... and following consultations with the three players as well as the national selection committee, it has been decided to decline their requests," a statement read.

    "The three are all-format cricketers and their services are expected to be required in the upcoming eight months during which Pakistan will play nine tests, 14 ODIs, and nine T20Is.

    "As such, and in line with the PCB's workload management policy, it is in the best interest of Pakistan cricket and the players that they skip the upcoming event in Canada so that they are in their best mental and physical shape for the season."

  • Dream come true: Hodge relishes maiden Test ton; opens up about initial struggle to break into Windies setup Dream come true: Hodge relishes maiden Test ton; opens up about initial struggle to break into Windies setup

    When England posted 416 on the opening day of the second Test at Trent Bridge, many felt West Indies chances of even getting close to that total were dimmed by the host’s formidable bowling attack.

    But as the sun rose high in the Nottingham sky on Friday’s second day, so did the fortunes of the Caribbean side, thanks to a stunning fightback led by the ever-composed Kavem Hodge.

    The Dominican batsman, in only his second Test series, etched his name in the annals of cricketing history, as he scored a maiden Test century, a knock that not only underscored his talent and grit, but more importantly, revived West Indies hopes of securing a positive result on this occasion.

    Hodge’s 120 off 171 balls, ensured that West Indies, who were hammered by an innings and 114 runs in the first Test at Lord’s, closed the day at 351-5, 65 runs behind heading into Saturday’s third day.

    “It's a dream come true,” Hodge, who made his debut against Australia earlier this year, declared in a post-day press conference.

    “Obviously, playing the game from a youngster growing up, that's something that you want to do, especially at the highest level in England against England. I'm really happy and I'm satisfied about it, especially, also given the position that the team is in, it's always good to help to the team, so I'm grateful for that,” he added.

    Coming to the crease with the West Indies teetering at 84-3, Hodge faced a daunting task, as the Andre Coley-coached side needed a hero –or in this case, two. This, as Hodge had an able partner in his Dominican compatriot Alick Athanaze, who made a well-played 99-ball 82.

    Together, they steadied the innings, with a crucial 175-run fourth-wicket partnership that took the fight to the English bowlers. Hodge played the perfect foil to Athanaze's aggression, rotating the strike and providing the support his teammate needed.

    “We always batted well together, we played for the same franchise back home and we've had a lot of partnerships, big partnerships. So it's always good to spend time with him. He's a bit more aggressive than I am. I'm more the accumulator, so I tend to go under the radar and go about my business quietly, but it is always great to spend time with him at the wicket,” Hodge said of 25-year-old Athanaze.

    “It's always good to know that the friends, family, and the nation is looking on. That's one of the things you want to do as an ambassador for your country, is put them on the map. Always have a positive light for your country. So I'm really grateful for that,” he added in reference to Dominica celebrating their feat.

    Reflecting on his innings, Hodge pointed to the importance of staying focused and taking things in stride. In fact, the 31-year-old even highlights that his current success is a testament to his unflinching desire and resilience, as there were times when being overlooked sparked doubts about his ability to make it to the big stage.

    However, after scoring 18 half-centuries, five centuries, and over 3,000 runs at the First Class level, the all-rounder, who also took 2-44 during England's innings, eventually got the big break against Australia in February.

    “There were times where I started to doubt myself because I wasn't getting the opportunity. There were times where, you know, to make a test team, obviously because of COVID, we had something called the best invest where they would, like, bring guys in and then they would split the squad into two, and then we would have warm up games and practice games to select the team.

    “I think I've taken part in that, like six or seven times, and every time, a selector or the coach would come to me and say, ‘we're not going to select you; we're looking in this direction’. So every time I went to the best invest, it just took a little bit out of me. But I'm just grateful that I stuck with it and things are now working out, so I'm happy for that,” Hodge explained.

    He continued: “So it (century) was always a dream, and I always wanted to just give myself the best chance to get there. There were times where I had a little bit of doubt, but I never thought about giving up. I always thought I would just try and try and try. If it didn't happen, it didn't happen.