I-Cup Day 1 - Afghanistan v Scotland
Scotland 125 ao (27.5) - Taylor 48*, Dawlatzai 16-3-57-6
Afghanistan 150/4 (50.0 ov) Shazhad 30*, Haq 6-0-25-2
Stumps - Day 1
Afghanistan lead by 25 runs with 6 wickets remaining in the 1st innings
Scotland started their final fixture of this current tour of the UAE against Afghanistan in the four day Intercontinental Cup encounter in Abu Dhabi.
Gordon Goudie and Safyaan Sharif came into the starting XI for Scotland, replacing Iain Warlaw, who has returned to Yorkshire, and Preston Mommsen from the previous WCL match.
Afghanistan won the toss and elected to field first, a tactic that has been a successful for the hosts throughout the tour.
The Scots had a wretched first 20 overs with the bat, despite Kyle Coetzer and Josh Davey stroking boundaries in the first and second over respectively.
Coetzer, who scored a magnificent century in the final World Cricket League match couldn’t replicate his heroics, after edging a Mirwais Ashraf delivery to the slips where Mohammad Nabi took a smart catch.
Ashraf claimed his second wicket of the day in the 10th over when Davey looked to drive him into the on-side, only to see the ball crashing into the stumps to leave the Scots on 30/2.
Izatullah Dawlatzai then caused havoc with the ball, dismissing six of the Scottish batsmen, while conceding only 38 runs from a 12 over spell.
Majid Haq, Richie Berrington, Calum MacLeod and David Murphy were all dismissed without scoring, as the visitors found themselves on 44/6 in the 17th over.
Captain Gordon Drummond struck two boundaries through the covers, before he had his off stump knocked over by Dawlatza. Drummond was soon followed back to the pavilion by Gordon Goudie - dismissed by the same bowler, in the same fashion.
Rob Taylor and Safyaan Sharif then went about stabilising the Scotland innings, with Taylor being the aggressor - taking three boundaries from the 32nd over.
The pair dug in, and took their partnership to 57 from 13.3 overs, before Sharif was caught behind by Shazhad off the bowling of Samiullah Shenwari for 20, to dismiss Scotland for 125 after 37.5 overs, with Rob Taylor (48*) just short of his first half century in Scotland colours.
The Afghanistan innings was opened by Shabir Noori and Nawroz Mangal, as they set about setting a first innings lead at the end of the first days play.
Scotland got their first wicket of the day came in the 18th over, when Nawroz Mangal struck a Gordon Drummond delivery into the hands of Taylor on the leg side boundary.
Noori and Stanikzai went about their business quietly, taking no unnecessary risks against the Scottish bowlers.
Eventually Noori’s watchfull 33 from 139 balls came to an end when he found the hands of Haq at second slip from a Taylor delivery. Another wicket was to follow shortly afterwards as Mohibullah Oryakhel was outsmarted by a fizzing Haq delivery, which beat his defences and took the top of off stump, to leave Afghanistan on 107/4.
Mohammad Shazhad, whose attacking style of batting has caused Scotland problems all tour, was to dent Taylor’s bowling figures before the end of the day, taking 20 runs off the 46th over.
Shazhad was to ensure Afghanistan would walk off the field with their heads held high after day 1, by despatching the final ball of the day over mid wicket for 6, to give Afghanistan a lead of 25 runs with 6 wickets remaining in the 1st innings.