Balkh Legends beat Kabul Zwanan by four wickets in Sharjah to win the inaugural edition of Afghanistan Premier League. The 18-year-old Qais Ahmed was the star of the day with five wickets in his spell to restrict Zwanan to 132-9 in 20 overs. Legends chased down the target with four wickets and 11 balls remaining in their innings. Gayle hit another half-century and Bopara remained unbeaten on 32 to help the team win the title in the first season. Qais Ahmed is the player of the match and Rashid Khan, the player of the series for his all-round performance throughout the tournament.
Having won the toss and elected to bat first, neither Ronchi or Zazai were able to provide a solid start. The openers were back in pavilion within power play. The attacking batsman Zazai could score only 10 and Ronchi’s poor run continued in the tournament as Aftab Alam dismissed him for nine runs. Parnell(21), Ingram(21), and Ahmadi’s(32) effort helped them post 132 on the board. Zwanan was 108-4 at one stage and expected to add 60 runs in the final over but Qais Ahmed and Mirwais effort allowed them only 24 runs in the end. Qais spell in the final game read 4-0-18-5.
Legends had a shocking start with both Munro and Rasooli fell in the first over of the game. Gayle stayed strong at the other end and had a 31 runs partnership with Ryan ten Doeschate. Bopara and Gayle added another 50 to the score. Gayle scored 56 before Rashid Khan dismissed him. Legends were still 46 runs away from the target. Ravi Bopara then took over the control and added 34 runs with Ikram to take them close to the target. Captain Nabi fell soon to Parnell. However, Bopara and Naib took the team home to win APL 2018.
APL has been an exciting one in their first season. With a lot of exciting games and players, we may see the tournament reaching new heights in the coming years. The success may also attract more international players signing up for the competition as well. Let’s wait for the next season.