Afghanistan keep faint World Cup hopes alive

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Rashid Khan took five wickets while Gulbadin Naib and Najibullah Zadran scored unbeaten half-centuries as Afghanistan kept their faint hopes of qualifying for next year’s World Cup alive with a five-wicket win over the UAE on Tuesday.

Leg-spinner Rashid took 5/41 in nine overs as Afghanistan bowled the UAE out for just 177 after the latter opted to bat first in Harare.

Afghanistan seamer Dawlat Zadran also bowled well to record figures of 3/45 in eight overs while Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi picked up one scalp each.

Shaiman Anwar, batting at number five, top-scored for UAE with 64 with number nine Mohammad Naveed the only other major contributor with the bat as he made 45 in a below-par total.

Afghanistan were in deep trouble in the run-chase as they slumped to 54/5 in the 16 over but Gulbadin and Najibullah pulled them out of the mire.

Gulbadin hit 74 not out while Najibullah was unbeaten on 63 as the duo shared in an unbroken stand of 124 for the sixth wicket to guide Afghanistan to victory with more than 15 overs to spare.

Afghanistan will still need some other results to go their way of they are to make the 2019 World Cup to be played in UK.