Afghanistan take T20 honours
Scotland played Afghanistan in their second T20 fixture at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Although the crowd wasn’t as big as the previous day, there was still plenty of support for the hosts at their adopted home ground.
The start to the Scotland innings didn’t quite go as they would have hoped as Hassan struck the third ball of the innings to remove Berrington, who was looking to hit over the top, only to have his off stump knocked over.
Coetzer was the next man in and looked in good touch before he looked for the boundary on the leg side only to pick out Gulbodin Naib in the deep off Hamza Hotak’s bowling.
Machan looked to be in the mood once again; hitting a Nabi delivery down to long on. He followed that up next over with another boundary, a flick off his legs put Scotland on 47/2 at the end of the 7th over.
The Sussex batsmen showed that he wasn’t to be intimidated by any short bowing, confidently pulling Aftab Alam through square leg and then the shot of the Scotland innings – a huge straight six into the top tier of the stand.
Unfortunately for Scotland, Machan was beaten in the flight of a Shenwari delivery as he got a leading edge back to the bowler, who took a smart low diving catch.
Mommsen was the next man to perish in exactly the same fashion two overs later MacLeod, who had batted patiently, worked the ball around until Hassan returned in the 17th over and forced him to chop the ball back onto the stumps.
Iqbal then struck three fours from two overs, to give Scotland’s innings a bit of a flourish, although the local hero, Hassan, claimed Iqbal and then Majid Haq off the final ball of the innings, Scotland finishing on 139/7.
Scotland needed to get a good start to their bowling innings, similar to what they had produced the previous day. Karim Sadiq ensured this wasn’t going to be the case as the opening ball of the innings, the aggressive opening batsmen rocked onto the back foot and slapped a Iain Wardlaw delivery through backward square leg to signal his intent.
It was the Safyaan Sharif’s turn to get the treatment, with one huge six and two fours to take 15 runs off the second over, with Afghanistan on 23/0.
The 6th over was particularly frantic, when a Mangal cut shot just evaded the stretching Sharif, then a run out chance, followed by a boundary for Mangal, sweeping the ball to the fence and finishing with the batsmen playing the ball
onto his own stumps with the Afghani’s now 51/1.
The two batsmen stayed patient, taking ones and twos until the final ball of the 12th over when Shzazad charged down the track to send the ball over out of the park for a massive six.
Shazhad, who had played a particularly explosive cameo the day before, replicated it today taking 16 runs off the 14th over, and taking the game away from Scotland.
Wardlaw eventually got his man, thanks to a brilliant catch by Drummond running backwards at mid off, but at this stage Afghanistan only required 13 from the last 30 balls, it was left to Shinwari to hit the winning runs down to long on, and claim their second T20 win in two days.
Unlike yesterday when the batting let the Scots down, it was the first spell of bowling that will disappoint the visitors today. Although these were games that Scotland would have liked to have won, there are plenty of positives that they will carry into the next match against Afghanistan where a berth at the 2015 World Cup is at stake.