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Afghanistan Premier League 2018, Semi-final 1- Balkh Legends v Nangarhar Leopards Live Score, Commentary and Updates

Chasing a target of 236, Nangarhar Leopards are bowled out for 64. Balkh Legends win by 171 runs.
Updated: 20 October 2018 00:54 IST - Published: 19 October 2018 13:15 IST
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Thanks for joining us! Hope you enjoyed all the action from Sharjah. Do tune into Sportskeeda on Saturday for the second semi-final between Paktia Panthers and Kabul Zwanan. The winner will join Balkh Legends in the final. 
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Mohammad Nabi is Player of the Match

Upon walloping a quick-fire 47 at a strike-rate of 293.75, he picked four wickets to hasten Nangarhar's end. A remarkable all-round performance from the Balkh skipper. 
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An absolutely dominant performance from Balkh Legends. They finished the group stage at the top of the points table and have now entered the final on the back of a colossal victory. 

After their explosive top four batsmen put on an electric exhibition of stroke-play, their bowlers showed no mercy and proceeded to rout a miserable Nangarhar lineup. Plenty to ponder for the Leopards. At no point in the game did they even come close to competing.
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Balkh Legends win by 171 runs

This is the second biggest victory (in terms of runs) in the history of T20 cricket. They missed the record by just one run. Sri Lanka had demolished Kenya by 172 runs at Johannesburg during the 2007 World T20. 
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It's all over! Quite fittingly, Mohammad Nabi picks up the final wicket on offer. Nangarhar have been thoroughly decimated in the first semi-final.

Nangarhar Leopards all out for 64 
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Mujeeb departs! Qais Ahmad tosses this one up much slower and the 17-year old falls for it. A miscued heave and Ryan ten Doeschate runs in to grab an impressive catch. 

Nangarhar Leopards 64/9 in 13 overs
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Mujeeb has hit a six! Having been on the receiving end all game, the young man finally gets one of his own. A slower ball right into his arc and he just about clears the boundary. It's just the fourth six in his senior career across all formats. 

Nangarhar Leopards 61/8 in 12 overs
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Naveen-ul-Haq battling valiantly at the moment. He is on three from eleven balls. However, the number nine batsman is at least not throwing his wicket away. 

Nangarhar Leopards 54/8 in 11 overs
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Qais Ahmad picks his second! Always on the cards with a leg-spinner bowling to a lower-order batsman. While they cannot get anywhere near the target, Nangarhar should at least look to play as many overs as possible. They are folding cheaply here.


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A wicket immediately after resumption! Considering the way Nangarhar have played in this game, it does not come across as any surprise. Ben Cutting attempts a half-hearted heave and Mohammad Nabi runs in to complete the catch. Mirwais Ashraf gets his second wicket.

Nangarhar Leopards 41/7 in 8 overs
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The rain has stopped and we are set to resume the action from Sharjah. Not sure if Nangarhar will be too pleased about this. 
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After 7.2 overs, Nangarhar Leopards are 39/6

Play has been halted due to rain. 
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The players are coming off the field! How often does that happen due to rain in the UAE? The umpires have deemed that the drizzle is heavy enough to intervene. Nangarhar Leopards certainly won't be complaining. They need all the respite they can get. 
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It's drizzling at Sharjah! Perhaps, Nangarhar's abject batting display has forced the rain god to take matters into his own hands. Earlier today, we saw a glimmer of rain in the Pakistan-Australia Test. It was a one-sided affair there as well. 
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The sixth wicket falls! Qais Ahmed shortens the length by a fraction. Shafiqullah Shafiq tries to take the leg-spinner on. However, he only finds Ryan ten Doeschate close to the boundary rope. 

Nangarhar Leopards 37/6 in 7 overs
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Skipper Ben Cutting arrives at the crease and smashes a boundary as well as a six straightaway. To put things into perspective, Nangarhar's required run-rate is 14.5. 

Nangarhar Leopards 33/5 in 6 overs
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The run-chase is almost over before it has even begun. Mirwais Ashraf forces a misguided stroke from Anton Devcich. Cramped for room, the left-hander inside-edges a length delivery back on to his stumps. 
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Nabi gets his third! Poor shot from Hashmatullah Shahidi. Tries to slog across the line without any conviction. You miss and I hit, says Nabi. 

Nangarhar Leopards 23/4 in 5 overs
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Another wicket falls! Nangarhar are losing the plot here. Ibrahim Zadran plays four dot balls and then holes out in the fifth delivery. Balkh are mercilessly using scoreboard pressure to their advantage. 
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Mohammad Nabi strikes twice! Like a swing bowler curving the ball away from the right-hander, the wily off-spinner drifts the new ball and cleans up Andre Fletcher. He then proceeds to outsmart Johnson Charles as well. Two dangerous Caribbean batsmen gone in the space of three deliveries. Nangarhar are reeling. 

Nangarhar Leopards 18/2 in 3 overs
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Terrific comeback from Aftab Alam! The seamer concedes back to back boundaries at the start of the over. But he keeps Andre Fletcher honest by slipping in a slow bouncer followed by a much quicker bouncer. 

Nangarhar Leopards 13/0 in 2 overs
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Solid start for Mohammad Nabi! Just a boundary and a single off the experienced off-spinner's opening over. Nangarhar cannot afford such quiet overs. 

Nangarhar Leopards 5/0 in 1 over
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A power-packed performance from the top-order has taken Balkh Legends to the second highest total of the 2018 APL season. As many as 14 sixes and 22 boundaries from the innings. If Nangarhar Leopards get anywhere near their target, we could be in for a cracker. Stay tuned for the run-chase. 
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Balkh Legends finish with 235/5 from 20 overs

Stunning catch from Devcich! Cutting picks up a wicket and gives away only 8 runs in the last over of the innings. After seeing the Balkh batsmen run riot, this is a praiseworthy effort from Nangarhar to at least end on a decent note. 
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Just five singles from Naveen-ul-Haq's penultimate over. On a day of utter mayhem, the medium pacer completes a creditable spell of 1/33 from 4 overs. 
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Naveen-ul-Haq castles Ravi Bopara! After all the carnage, some respite for the Leopards. Can they minimise the damage at the end of the innings?
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Mohammad Nabi today - 5 sixes and 2 fours from just 16 balls. 
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Mohammad Nabi falls! The Balkh skipper has been throwing the kitchen sink at every ball. Miscues this one and Anton Devcich takes a simple catch at long-on. But the damage has already been done. 

Balkh Legends 222/3 in 18 overs
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200 up for Balkh Legends! There are still 3 more overs left in the innings. Rasooli and Nabi have added 49 runs from 19 balls. Nangarhar Leopards are being batted out of the game at Sharjah. 
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Mujeeb Ur Rahman has conceded 51 runs from 3 overs. Can this day get any worse for the talented spinner?
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4 Sixes from Mujeeb's over! The 17-year old is being taken to the cleaners. Rasooli and Nabi make merry by plundering two sixes each off the same over. 

Balkh Legends 187/2 in 16 overs
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Just eight runs from the fifteenth over. Even as the other bowlers are getting hammered, seamer Naveen-ul-Haq chips in with a relatively decent over. 

Balkh Legends 161/2 in 15 overs
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Mohammad Nabi promotes himself to number four. Terrific move by the Balkh skipper to take control of the proceedings. His team is in a dominant position. Can he get going from the outset? 
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Munro departs! Tries to play a premeditated sweep shot but does not pick Zahir Khan's googly. As a result, he gets himself into an awkward position and is trapped in front. 
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Fifty for Darwish Rasooli! Reaches the landmark with a massive six. Has taken him just 30 balls to go past the half-century mark. Can he continue his march?
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Colin Munro breaks the shackles! Back to back sixes for the explosive left-hander. The second of those has gone out of the stadium. A change of ball is made necessary.

Balkh Legends 141/1 in 13 overs
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Colin Munro's just a bit too cheeky for his own good. The left-hander is not picking Zahir that well. Still backs himself to play both reverse and conventional sweep. Gets away with it this time.

Balkh Legends 122/1 in 12 overs
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Exceptional batting from Darwish Rasooli! Uses the depth of his crease to flay Cutting for consecutive boundaries. The Australian is bowling reasonably well here. But the batting is just too good at the moment. 

Balkh Legends 113/1 in 11 overs
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At the half-way mark, Balkh have already motored past the 100-run mark. With nine wickets in hand, they need to aim for 200. This seems to be a batting-friendly surface. Much better than the previous matches and the ball is coming nicely on to the bat. 
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Darwish Rasooli batting sensibly. Cuts down on risk and looks to time the ball rather than going all out. Gets his reward as two boundaries arrive off the last three balls of the tenth over. 

Balkh Legends 101/1 in 10 overs
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Colin Munro is adapting an interesting strategy to tackle chinaman spinner Zahir Khan. Much like Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, the Kiwi is crouching extremely low to get underneath the balls pitching in the good length area. 


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Just four singles from Cutting's first over. More importantly, the skipper has personally helped his team see the back of Gayle. 

Balkh Legends 78/1 in 8 overs
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Gayle's gone! Ben Cutting brings himself on and delivers what could potentially be a game-changing breakthrough. Talk about leading from the front. Nangarhar finally get some respite. The Universe Boss has to depart for 54 from 30.  
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Gayle's powerful six has smashed Balkh Legends' dressing room window. Sights of shredded glass at Sharjah as the big man sends a warning to his own teammates! 

Balkh Legends 74/0 in 7 overs
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Fifty for Chris Gayle! The Caribbean juggernaut is taking the semi-final by storm. He reaches the half-century mark with a brutal six. Has taken just 28 balls for him get there. 
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Chinaman exponent Zahir Khan into the attack. Good move by Nangarhar skipper Ben Cutting. 
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Splendid Power Play for Balkh! Gayle's assault is putting Nangarhar under immense pressure. They desperately need a breakthrough to get back into the game. 

Balkh Legends 66/0 in 6 overs
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Woeful bowling by Mujeeb. Goes too short and the ball is sitting up nicely on this Sharjah track. Gayle takes full toll of the teenager's mishaps. 
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Fazal Niazai spoils his own work by venturing into Gayle's arc during the last ball of the over. The Universe Boss clears his front foot and lifts it over the bowler's head.

Balkh Legends 37/0 in 4 overs