Australian pace bowler Ben Cutting steal the show with the first five-wicket haul in Afganistan Premier League as Nangarhar Leopards beat Kandahar Knights by six wickets in the second game. Knights opting to bat first, couldn’t get going as they lost wickets in regular intervals and posted a below-par 139 in their 20 overs with Karim Janat top scoring with 39 off 39 balls. Leopards managed to get over the line with six wickets in hand.
Knights openers Stirling and McCullum added 29 runs in the first four overs to give them a good start. However, they lost four wickets including the dangerous batsman Brendon McCullum in the next two overs put them under pressure. Kevin O Brien(22 off 14 balls) was the next one to leave before adding 37 runs with Karim Janat for the fifth wicket. Karim with Najibullah Zadran added another 38 runs to the total before Cutting dismissed Zardan. Cutting dismissed Karim and Sayed Shirzad in successive balls in the final over of the match to complete his fifer.
Leopards were off to a decent in the chase as openers Najeeb Tarakai and Johnson Charles scored 46 runs in the powerplay. Both of them were dismissed halfway through the chase with 68 runs on the board. They lost two more wickets in the next couple of overs and Leopards were still 61 runs away from the target. Knights have only themselves to blame for the missed wicket-taking opportunities, otherwise could have put them in a much better position in the match. However, it was Hashmatullah Shahidi and Shafiqullah Shafiq’s unbeaten 64 runs partnership which eventually took them over the finishing line.
Ben Cutting was the player of the match for his excellent show with the ball and opined that it was difficult batting out there and credited the duo Shafiq and Shahidi for their match-winning partnership.