About the Match
The win for Nangarhar Leopards against Kandahar Knights has really set up the table beautifully. Three teams are now tied at six points while the Leopards and Knights are the bottom two teams with four and two points respectively. Those two teams are set to lock horns in what is a make-or-break game for Kandahar Knights. They're still searching for their first win in the competition and unless they want to lag behind for the semifinal contention, they'd really have to step up their game. With competition getting tighter with every passing match, we expect this game to go down to the wire as well.
Anton Devcich continued his brilliant run with the bat as he stuck a scintillating half-century to take his team to a competitive total in an important match. The Leopards' batting had plenty of question to answer after the dismal performance against Balkh Legends.
Their openers managed to put behind that dismal performance and propelled the team to a position of strength with 99 for 0 at halfway stage. Devcich's 77 ensured that the Leopards reach a competitive total despite some late stutter.
The Leopards' story of this win split into two halves. First, after getting off to a fantastic start, their middle-order lost the initiative and handed the advantage back to the Kabul Zwanan. Then they miraculously bounced back into the game after their bowlers were brutally dispatched to all parts to the ground in the powerplay overs.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman had Hazratullah Zazai caught at deep midwicket which ignited the spark that grew brighter as the match progressed. Rahmat Shah was adjudged man of the match with an excellent spell of legspin bowling which played a vital role in the Leopards' 15 run win over Kabul Zwanan.
The Knights succumbed to yet another narrow loss, they're fourth in the row, is staring at an early exit from the tournament. Led by the experienced skipper, Asghar Afghan, this side hasn't really experienced wins as the Afghanistan national side which will be a huge matter of concern for the skipper and the management.
The Knights are rich in experience with the likes of Brendon McCullum, Paul Stirling, and Asghar Stanikzai in their lineup. However, none of those batsmen have managed to make a mark yet in the tournament. Their poor batting form was validated in their last match as well when they failed to chase a below-par total on an excellent batting surface.
Chasing just 128 runs to win, the Knights had a nightmarish start they had all their experienced back in the hut for a total of 47 runs. Najibullah Zadran and Karim Janat somehow took them close to the required total, but the former's wicket derailed their chase. With 14 needed off the final two overs, the Knights were still favorites but excellent over by Sharafuddin left 12 runs required off the final over which eventually proved to be too many to score for their tailenders.
Kandahar Knights have been hapless in this season and are still searching for their first win after a string of poor performances. Nangarhar Leopards, on the other hand, have had a roller-coaster ride and will be looking to cement their position in the final four. Nangarhar Leopards proved to be a better side when the two teams faced off last time and we expect the Leopards to register yet another win to get a step closer to the semifinal.
Chasing has been the preferred way to go in this tournament thus far and we expect the same decision in this game as well from the captain winning the toss.
Despite a couple of low-scoring matches, this surface has been an excellent place to bat on. We've already seen many high-scoring contests in the tournament and with the possibility of dew, batting second will be easier. The team batting first will be looking to get at least a 180-run total on the board.