The first semi-final of the Afghanistan Premier League witnessed a one-sided match in Sharjah. Balkh Legends become the first team to qualify for the finals of APL 2018 beating Nangarhar Leopards by 171 runs, the second highest victory margin in T20. Batting first Legends scored a massive 235-5 in their 20 overs and bundled out Leopards for just 64 runs in 13.1 overs. Captain Mohammad Nabi starred with both bat and ball as he scored 47 off 16 balls with five sixes and bowled a brilliant spell of 3.1-0-12-4. He is also the player of the match.
Having won the toss and batting first, Legends were off to a strong start with openers Gayle and Rasooli scoring at ten runs per over. The partnership added 75 before Cutting dismissed Gayle for 54. Munro joined Rasooli to add another 47 to the total and also ensured the run rate didn’t go down 10 per over. Munro scored 33 off 22 balls and departed with 152 on board. Nabi came out with a positive intent and scored 47 runs in just 16 balls and the partnership worth 65 runs in just 23 balls. The pair ensured Legends went past 200 in the crucial game. Rasooli was the last man to depart after scoring a brilliant 78 off 45 balls to help Legends post a huge total.
With a huge total to chase to qualify for the finals, Legends didn’t have an expected start as they kept losing wickets. Half the batting unit was back in the pavilion within the powerplay with only 23 runs on the board. None of the Leopards batsmen stay in the middle for long as Nabi, Mirwais, and Qais Ahmed struck at regular intervals to dismiss them in for just 64 runs.
Thirteen was the highest individual score in Leopards innings and only three of their batsmen managed to cross two digit mark. Qais took three wickets in his spell of four overs and Mirwais took two to provide support to Nabi.
Brief Score: Balkh Legends 235-5 (Rasooli 78, Gayle 54, Cutting 38/2)
Leopards 64-10 (Fletcher 13, Niazai 13, Nabi 12/4)
Paktia Panthers will take on Kabul Zwanan in the second semi-final in Sharjah.