APL 2018: Match 2, KDK vs NL, Review: Skipper Ben provides a 'Cutting Edge' as the Leopards register an easy win

APL 2018: Match 2, KDK vs NL, Review: Skipper Ben provides a ‘Cutting Edge’ as the Leopards register an easy win

Kandahar had their moments in the game, but they let their opponents gain the advantage with some shoddy fielding.

Ben Cutting
Ben Cutting. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Inspired by a brilliant bowling spell from skipper Ben Cutting, the Nangarhar Leopards registered their first win of the campaign with relative ease. Kandahar had their moments in the game, but they let their opponents slip through their fingers and eventually, succumbed to the pressure.

Paul Stirling and Brendon McCullum temporarily gave the Knights a good start, but as it turned out, their joy was short-lived. Stirling, Karim Sadiq and McCullum walked back in a span of 10 balls which put them under real pressure.

Just after the power play was done, skipper Asghar Afghan too walked back, which put them in deep trouble. They needed a good partnership and they got one from Karim Janat and Kevin O’Brien. The duo added 37 runs after which Najibullah added another 38 runs with the former.

These two partnerships ensured they got to the 120-run mark in 16 overs and were eyeing a total in excess of 160. But the Leopards bowlers, especially skipper Ben Cutting, ran riot in the final few overs. He chipped in with a five-fer and the lower order collapsed miserably.

After all the drama, they could only manage 139 runs for the loss of nine scalps. Cutting was the star of the hour as he returned with figures of 5/28, the best figures in his T20 career.

Shahidi saves the day for the leopards

Chasing a pretty moderate target, they got off to a decent start in the powerplay overs. Najeeb Tarakai and Johnson Charles hit a few boundaries and added 46 runs for the first wicket. Their partnership came to an end just one ball before the powerplay as Shirzad sent Charles back after scoring a well-compiled 30.

The innings slowed down a little bit and the Knights started to come back in the game. The Kiwi batter Anton Devcich, who walked in at number 3, failed to stamp his authority and a couple of quick wickets put the Leopards on the backfoot.

One of the stars of the Afghanistan side in the Asia Cup, Hasmatullah Shahidi walked in and was accompanied by Shafiqullah Shafiq, their national side’s second-choice wicket-keeper. The duo had a big task in hand as the target was still over 60 runs away with not a lot of time in hand.

After starting off cautiously, both players, especially Shafiqullah upped the ante and displayed the perks of patient batting. The required rate going into the final 3 overs was exactly a run-a-ball and a few boundaries at this point from Shafiqullah killed the game. Eventually, they romped home six wickets in hand with nine balls to spare.

Brief Scores

Kandahar Knights: 139/9 in 20 overs (Karim Janat 39; Ben Cutting 5/28)

Nangarhar Leopards: 142/4 in 18.3 overs (Shafiqullah Shafiq 35*, Najeeb Tarakai 31, Johnson Charles 30)

Result: Nangarhar Leopards won by six wickets.

Player of the match: Ben Cutting

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