By RON FANFAIR
Canada’s captain Ashish Bagai was run out off the last ball attempting a match-leveling third run in the first of two One-Day Internationals against Afghanistan in Sharjah on Tuesday.
With three runs needed off the last ball, medium pacer Khurram Chohan’s shot into the outfield for an attempted three runs to tie the score was thwarted when Bagai failed to beat the throw in the exciting contest.
Canada seemed to be on track to overcome Afghanistan’s challenging total of 289 after Bagai and former skipper Sunil Dhaniram put on 109 in 21 overs for the fifth wicket. The national side needed 38 from the final six overs with a power play in hand.
The Afghans however restricted Canada’s progression, leaving the national team with a target of eight runs off the final over.
Bagai missed his third ODI century, scoring 91 off 99 balls with five boundaries while Dhaniram scored 56 off 70 balls with a six and three boundaries in Canada’s total of 288-8 off 50 overs.
Hard-hitting opener Rizwan Cheema and Trevin Bastiampillai provided a strong base for Canada’s reply, posting 59 off 6.5 overs for the first wicket. Bastiampillai hit 33 off 26 balls with six fours while Cheema belted 61 off 35 balls with two sixes and 11 boundaries.
Earlier, Afghanistan scored 289-6 in its 50 overs with two of its batsmen posting centuries.
Opening bowlers Chohan and Harvir Baidwan were Canada’s most successful bowlers, sharing the six wickets. Chohan took 4-39 off 10 overs and Baidwan claimed 2-55 off 10.
The second and final ODI will be played later today.
In another ODI played last Tuesday, Kenya brushed aside The Netherlands by six wickets with almost 15 overs to spare in Nairobi.
Replying to the Dutch total of 219-9 off 50 overs, the East Africans reached the target in the 35th over for the loss of six wickets.
Opener Rakep Patel scored 92 off 98 balls while Alex Obanda hit 61 off 54 balls to secure the win