Afghanistan beats New Zealand, Canada and Bangladesh also win at cricket's Twenty20 World Cup

PROVIDENCE, Guyana (AP) — Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran shared a second consecutive century stand which led Afghanistan to an 84-run win over New Zealand on Friday and put it in charge of Group C at cricket's Twenty20 World Cup.

Gurbaz and Ibrahim put on 154 in a 125-run win over Uganda in Afghanistan’s opening match and made 103 for the first wicket in a total of 159-6 as Afghanistan batted first after New Zealand won the toss.

Fazalhaq Farooqi and Rashid Khan both took 4-17 as New Zealand was bowled out for 75 in the 16th over, its fourth-lowest T20 total.

Earlier Friday in Dallas, Nicholas Kirton scored 49 off 35 balls to help Canada earn its first win at a T20 World Cup by 12 runs over Ireland. In the third match Friday in New York, Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka by two wickets with six balls remaining in a tense match, consigning Sri Lanka to its second consecutive loss in Group D.

Gurbaz and Ibrahim are only the third pair and first openers to post back-to-back century partnerships at a Twenty20 World Cup. They stayed together until the 15th over Friday when Ibrahim was out for 44 from 41 balls.

Gurbaz finally was out in the 20th over, having made 80 from 56 balls with five fours and five sixes. The Afghanistan innings contained nine sixes and 10 fours.

“We were waiting for this match for the last three years,” Gurbaz said. “We played them at the World Cup three years ago and they beat us. Finally we beat them. We had the trust and belief in ourselves from the very start.”

New Zealand came into the tournament as one of the favorites after reaching at least the semifinals at the last six white-ball World Cups — 50-over one-day internationals and Twenty20 matches.

But it also came into its opening match with no local warm-up match and with most players having been inactive for some time. That showed in the field where their performance featured dropped catches, overthrows and misfields.

“Afghanistan outplayed us in all facets of the game,” New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said. “From our perspective it wasn't good enough in terms of starting a tournament. Very frustrating.”

CANADA BEATS IRELAND

Nicholas Kirton helped Canada score 137-7 in 20 overs after it was put into bat. Shreyas Movva also contributed 37 runs. In reply, Ireland was restricted to 125-7 with medium pacers Jeremy Gordon and Dillon Heyliger taking two wickets each.

Canada is competing at the T20 World Cup for the first time, and lost its opening game to the United States. The U.S. followed that win with a huge upset victory Thursday over Pakistan.

“It was a good wicket to bat on, except a couple of patches in the middle,” Kirton said. “It was important to get set and bounce back from defeat in the first game."

Kirton hit three fours and two sixes, following on from the 51 he scored against the U.S. He put on 75 off 63 balls with Movva for the fifth wicket – a partnership that turned the game for Canada.

BANGLADESH IN TIGHT WIN

Bangladesh opened its campaign with its two-wicket win over Sri Lanka in a match which became much closer than it should have been.

Sri Lanka posted 124-9 batting first but lost its last seven wickets for 54 runs in just over 11 overs. Opener Pathum Nissanka top-scored with 47 from 28 balls.

Bangladesh seemed to be coasting to victory at 109-5 in the 17th over, needing 16 runs from 28 balls. Towhid Hridoy made 40 from 20 balls and Litton Das 30 from 38 to set Bangladesh up for what seemed likely to be an easy win.

But wickets tumbled and the task became more treacherous. Maheesh Theekshana pulled off a brilliant catch at fine leg to dismiss Shakib Al Hasan and Nuwan Thusara took wickets with consecutive balls in the 18th over.

Veteran Mahmudullah stayed calm amid the chaos to steer his team home, making 18 as Bangladesh chased 11 runs from the last two overs. Mahmudullah hit a six from the first ball of the 19th over and the winning run came from an overthrow.

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