Afghanistan make instant impact
Afghanistan marked their arrival on the world stage with a five-wicket win over Ireland in their opening World Twenty20 warm-up game.
Poised to make their bow in a major global event, Afghanistan overhauled Ireland’s 133 for nine with three balls to spare in Guyana.
They were indebted to Asghar Stanikzai, who hit an unbeaten 39 off 27 deliveries and shared a decisive fifth-wicket stand of 66 with Mohammad Nabi (28 off 17 balls) which rescued Afghanistan from 66 for four.
John Mooney and Gary Wilson had performed a similar feat for Ireland, who slipped to 32 for five in the face of an impressive spell of fast bowling from Dawlat Ahmadzai, who returned figures of 4-15 off four overs.
South Africa, meanwhile, enjoyed success in their first practice match, beating Sri Lanka by five wickets at the Kensington Oval.
Chamara Kapugedera’s unbeaten 61 helped Sri Lanka recover from 24 for four to post 137 for eight.
But it was not enough as a 61-run fifth-wicket stand off only 33 balls between Mark Boucher and Johan Botha kept South Africa on course for a victory which was also achieved with three balls to spare.
Scott Styris claimed 4-18 as New Zealand successfully defended their modest total of 124 for eight against West Indies in Guyana.
Only opener Shivnarine Chanderpaul offered sustained resistance with 53 as the World Twenty20 hosts stumbled to 117 all out.
Ross Taylor and Jacob Oram had earlier rescued an ailing Black Caps innings, which at one point toiled on 37 for six, with 50 and 43 not out respectively.