Karim Janat's blitzkrieg leads Afghanistan to T20 series victory against UAE
Afghanistan won a close contest [Twitter]
Afghanistan emerged victorious against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the third and final T20I of the three-match series, held at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on February 19. Rashid Khan's men put in a commendable performance to clinch the series 2-1.
The match witnessed a gripping finale, with an incredible late-overs assault by Karim Janat taking Afghanistan to an unexpected victory over the UAE. The all-rounder produced a stunning 21-ball half-century, which saved his team from a potential defeat at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.
UAE, after winning the toss, made a flying start by scoring 57 runs in the powerplay. Muhammad Waseem and Vriitya Aravind, who were the UAE's key players in the previous T20I, didn't let the Afghan bowlers settle down.
Waseem, in particular, was in devastating form, racing to a half-century off just 33 balls, setting the tone for the UAE innings. The right-handed batsman went on to score 75 runs off 50 balls, with the help of eight fours and three sixes. He put on a magnificent partnership of 129 runs with Aravind for the opening wicket off 15.4 overs. Aravind, too, played his part, scoring 59 runs off 53 balls, including seven fours and one six.
Despite the blistering start by the UAE, the Afghan bowlers managed to pull things back and restricted their opponents to 163 for the loss of six wickets. Rashid Khan was the standout bowler for Afghanistan, finishing with impressive figures of 4-0-16-2.
In response, the visitors found themselves in a spot of bother after being reduced to 86 for four in 13.1 overs. The required run rate was around 11, and the visitors had a mountain to climb.
However, Ibrahim Zadran and Karim Janat took charge and didn't allow the UAE bowlers any breathing space. The pair stitched on an unbeaten partnership of 80 runs to take their team home.
Janat produced a scintillating performance with the bat, hitting the joint-fastest fifty by an Afghan batter, equaling Mohammad Nabi's record. He remained unbeaten on 56 runs off 22 balls, including four fours and five sixes. Zadran played a vital role, too, supporting Janat by scoring 61 runs off 51 balls, comprising of five fours and a six.
On the back of their impressive knocks, Afghanistan chased down the target with five balls to spare, sealing a series win over the UAE.