Kabul Zwanan edged past Paktia Panthers in the opening encounter of inaugural Afghanistan Premier League by three wickets with five balls remaining, courtesy Laurie Evans’ 39-ball 79*.
After winning the toss, Kabul skipper Rashid Khan asked Paktia to bat first. Openers Mohammad Shahzad and Ihsanullah provided a blistering 101-run start before Sikandar Raza smacked 78* off 40 balls to propel the score past 200. Paktia finished with 218/4.
Kabul bowlers had a hard day, with only Rashid Khan returning with the reasonable figures of 0/27 in his four overs.
In reply, Kabul openers Luke Ronchi and Hazratullah Zazai made starts but couldn’t capitalize. Paktia continued to chip in with wickets but Kabul’s Sussex import Laurie Evans held the fort from one end. While the lower middle-order chipped in with cameos, it was Evans’ 39-ball 79* that helped Kabul reach home with five balls to spare.
Sharafuddin Ashraf and Mohammad Hussain shared two-wickets each for Paktia.
Evans was adjudged man of the match for his blistering fifty.