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UAE vs Afghanistan: UAE Bounced Back to Level the Series 1-1 with 11-Run Win Over Afghans

The United Arab Emirates won a thrilling 11-run victory over Afghanistan in the 2nd T20I match on December 31st, 2023, at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, tying the series 1-1. UAE won the toss and opted to bat first. Muhammad Waseem chose to bat and came out swinging. Following a few brief reprieves, he launched an assault on the Afghanistan bowlers. Out of the 55 runs that were scored on the powerplay, 40 were scored by the captain. After hitting a fifty off 29 balls, Waseem was dismissed as soon as he attempted to loft Qais. After that, the hosts continued to lose wickets. Despite his rough start, Aryan Lakra persevered till the very end, and as the innings went on, his hitting got much better, allowing him to score his first T20I half-century. He was a formidable square of the wicket on both sides, and his cause was aided by some bad bowling. With a score of 128/7 at the end of the 17th over, UAE was in a position to bother. Lakra and Akif Raja, both left-handers, put up 38 runs in the final three overs to raise their team’s total to over 160. Afghanistan will be confident in their ability to chase it down with a strong batting deck.

UAE Batting:

  • Muhammad Waseem and Aryan Lakra provided a solid opening partnership with half-centuries, setting the platform for a competitive total.
  • The rest of the batters chipped in with contributions, taking UAE to a respectable score of 166/7 in 20 overs.

Afghanistan began their 167-run chase well but lost wickets quickly and produced no meaningful partnerships. With eight wickets shared between Ali Naseer and Jawadullah, just Nabi stood in their way of victory. After conceding 25 runs in his first two overs, Akif Raja was handed 19 runs to defend in the final over and prevailed. Following a crushing defeat in the first game, UAE recovered admirably to cause an upset.

Afghanistan Batting:

  • Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran got Afghanistan off to a flying start with powerful innings.
  • However, a dramatic middle-order collapse saw wickets fall in quick succession, putting immense pressure on the lower order.
  • Mohammad Nabi played a fighting knock but fell short of taking Afghanistan across the finish line, ending their innings at 155/10 in 19.5 overs.

Key Takeaways:

  • The match was a rollercoaster of emotions, with both teams having a chance to win at different stages.
  • UAE’s strong batting performance and resilient bowling sealed the victory in a nail-biting finish.
  • The series is now evenly poised, with the final match on January 2nd holding immense importance for both teams.
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