Afghans topple UAE in final WC warm-up

Afghanistan rounded off preparations for their World Cup campaign with a close 14 run victory over the UAE in a warm-up match at the Junction Oval in Melbourne on Friday.

Afghanistan posted a healthy total of 308 for nine in their 50 overs, with batsman Samiullah Shenwari, batting at number five, top-scoring with 58 off 80 balls.

There were other notable contributions from the lower-order, with captain Mohammad Nabi scoring 30, while the innings was given some late impetus by Najibullah Zadran who struck 46 form 39 balls, Gulbadin Naib who scored 24 in 10 balls and Mirwais Ashraf, who probably played the match-winning innings when he struck 34 from just 17 balls, including four fours and one six.

For the UAE, seam bowler Amjad Javed bowled a probing line length to finish with figures of four for 39 in 10 overs, including one maiden. He was well supported by medium-pacer Krishna Chandran who took two for 42 from nine overs.

In the UAE chase, they were always on track to chase down the target until a flurry of late wickets put paid to their chances of pulling off a win.

The top five batsman all got off to good starts but no-one went on to get a really big score, with number four, Khurram Khan striking 80 in just 70 balls to keep his country in the hunt for victory.

It was a good test for the Afghan bowlers, who stood up well to the challenge. Seamer Aftab Alam was the pick of the attack tacking three for 42 in just under seven overs.

Skipper Nabi also took two wickets from his 10 overs with his wily off-spin bowling.

Afghanistan start their World Cup with a match against Bangladesh in Canberra on the 18 February, while the UAE kick-off their campaign against Zimbabwe in Nelson, New Zealand.

The global event will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand from the 14 February until the 29 March.