Another one-sided game in the second semi-final in which Kabul Zwanan beat Paktia Panthers by 90 runs to join Balkh Legends in the Grand Finale of the Afghanistan Premier League 2018. Much like the first semi-final the team batting first won the game comprehensively. Having won the toss and opting to bat first Zwanan posted a total of 192-9 in their 20 overs powered by Colin Ingram, Rashid Khan, and Laurie Evans. Rashid Khan was once again in action with the ball picking up four wickets in his spell leading his team one step closer to the title win. Paktia Panthers innings wrapped up for 102 within 15 overs.
Luke Ronchi and Zazai couldn’t convert their starts into a big one, and Parnell’s promotion to number also didn’t find success for Zwanan. However, they managed to score 55 runs within the powerplay for the loss of three wickets. Ingram(44 off 27 balls) and Evans(31 off 21 balls) once again pitched in with valuable contributions. Rashid’s quickfire 35 off 19 balls and Muslim Musa’s cameo helped them to post a big total of 192 on board.
Chasing a huge target, Panthers had lost their in-form batsman Shahzad in the first over for just one run. Rashid Khan struck at regular intervals and kept the pressure on Panthers. They lost four wickets within the powerplay with 29 runs on the board. Shahid Afridi top scored the innings for Panthers with 27 runs. None of the other batsmen could cross 20 and formed a partnership for the team. Eventually, Panthers fell short of 90 runs. Rashid Khan is the man of the match for his excellent performance with bat and ball.
The Grand Finale between Balkh Legends and Kabul Zwanan will be on 22nd October 2018 in Sharjah. Let’s wait for an exciting contest between two of the most consistent teams in APL 2018.