Asghar bows out with 31 as Afghanistan hit 160 against Namibia

Abu Dhabi (AFP) – Former captain Asghar Afghan, making his last appearance for his country, hit 31 as Afghanistan made 160 for five batting first against Namibia in the Twenty20 World Cup on Sunday.


Play briefly halted when Asghar came in to bat and Namibia greeted him by lining up and applauding.

After Ruben Trumpelmann dismissed the 33-year-old with the last ball of the 19th over, there was another pause as Namibian players ran across the field to shake hands as he walked off.

After the innings, an emotional Afghan discussed his decision to retire mid-tournament in an on-field interview saying he had made the choice after the opening loss to regional rivals Pakistan.

"From the last match we were hurt too much and that is why I decided to leave the stage," he said. "It's very difficult to explain, but I had to retire."

"I wanted to give a chance to the youngsters," he said.

Asghar skippered Afghanistan over all three formats of cricket. He played six Tests, 114 one-day internationals and this was his 75th Twenty20 international in a career spread over 12 years.

While Afghanistan lost their opener, Namibia won their only match against Scotland.

Afghanistan made one change to the team that lost to Pakistan, bringing in fast bowler Hamid Hassan for a first appearance in five years in place of injured spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

After current skipper Mohammad Nabi won the toss and chose to bat in Abu Dhabi, Mohammad Shahzad gave Afghanistan a fast start.

The opener hit 45 off 33 balls with two sixes. After he holed out at deep square leg off JJ Smit, opening partner Hazratullah Zazai accelerated, smashing a pair of sixes in his 33.

But 20-year-old leg spinner Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton dismissed Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Najibullah Zadran cheaply to briefly slow batting momentum.

Asghar hit a brisk 31 off 23 balls with three fours and a six and captain Nabi bashed an unbeaten 32 off 17 balls with one six and five fours, the last off the final ball to take his team to 160

Trumpelmann took two wickets for 43 runs in his four overs while leg-spinner Loftie-Eaton gave up just 21 runs as he took two wickets.