Etisalat Shpageeza Cricket League kicked-off in style as Hazrat Limited Mis-e Ainak Knights emerged victorious after a thrilling contest beating DFI Band-e Amir Dragons by 1 run in the tournament opener at Kabul Cricket Stadium.
Knights’ skipper Shapoor Zadran defended 13 runs in a thrilling last over after Abdullah Mazari bowled a game-changing penultimate over that cost only 7 runs for Mazari and included the important wicket of the set batsman, Usman Ghani. Earlier, Dragons’ skipper Asghar Afghan won the toss and opted to field first in the opening match of the tournament.
The Knights put a challenging total of 179/7 in the allotted overs as Hashmatullah Shahidi and Mohammad Shahzad scored brilliant half-centuries. The latter, in particular, who was retired hurt later, gave a quick-fire start to his team after they lost an early wicket in Najibullah Tarakai who was back to the pavilion in the second over of the innings.
Spinners Sharafuddin Ashraf and Waqar Salamkheil picked two wickets each for the Dragons while senior pacer Hamid Hassan was economical with one wicket as well.
Shahidi, who was adjudged the player of the match, played an amazing knock of 65 and was well-complimented by Ghamai Zadran who scored 30 runs as well.
Having been set 180 to chase, DFI Band-e Amir Dragons’ openers Hazratullah Zazai and gave them a terrific start scoring at almost 10 Runs per over in the power play before Zazai was out on 24 courtesy of a brilliant delivery by young mystery spinner Noor Ahmad Lakanwal.
Lakanwal was the pick of the bowlers taking two wickets while Mazari, Shapoor Zadran and Dawlat Zadran took one wicket each.