Afghanistan 203 for 3 (Gurbaz 100, Ibrahim 59, Aayan 1-26) beat UAE 131 for 4 (Aravind 70*, Farooqi 2-19, Naveen-ul-Haq 1-25) by 72 runs
cracked his maiden T20I century, helping Afghanistan to 203 and eventually a 72-run win in the first T20I against UAE in Sharjah. The hosts were never quite in the chase after being reduced to 56 for 4 in the first ten overs.
Gurbaz’s knock of 100 came off just 52 deliveries, with seven fours and as many sixes. He dominated a second-wicket stand of 137 off 77 balls with Ibrahim Zadran
, who was appointed the stand-in captain for the series.
The boundaries kept flowing regularly from the bat of Gurbaz, who got to his fifty off 24 balls with a six off Ali Naseer in the ninth over. He went 4, 6, 4 against Basil Hameed in the 16th, reaching his hundred off 50 balls – also with a six – in the following over. Afghanistan scored 62 in the last five overs, with the finishing touches provided by Azmatullah Omarzai’s unbeaten cameo of 19 from eight deliveries.
Chasing a challenging score, UAE lost Khalid Shah in the first over. Fazalhaq Farooqi
, back in Afghanistan’s squad
along with Naveen-ul-Haq after being sanctioned by the ACB earlier this week for expressing a desire to be left out of the central contracts list for 2024, got Khalid and also Samal Udawaththa in the fifth over.
In between, Naveen removed Muhammad Waseem, before Qais Ahmad got the fourth wicket to leave UAE needing another 148 in the last ten overs. Vriitya Aravind
fought back with 70 not out but his effort only helped reduce the margin of defeat for the home team.
The big win gave Afghanistan a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, with the second match also taking place in Sharjah on Sunday.