Afghanistan v Scotland WCL
Scotland 259/9 (50 ov) K Coetzer 133, J Davey 56
Afghanistan 261/5 (48.4 ov) Gulbodin Naib 21* (15), Samiullah Shenwari 30* (49), JH Davey 9.4-0-63-1, I Wardlaw 10-0-56-1
Afghanistan won by 5 wickets (with 8 balls remaining)
Scotland took on Afghanistan in Sharjah on Friday, as the two met for the final World Cricket League match on a breezy but sunny day.
As the day progressed more spectators came to the ground, inside the stadium to enjoy a thrilling encounter.
Afghanistan captain, Mohammed Nabi won the toss and elected to field first. Calum MacLeod and Kyle Coetzer opened the batting for Scotland as Dawlat Zadran and Hammid Hassan opened the bowling.
Calum MacLeod was the first wicket to fall as he tried to make room against Zadran, only to get an inside edge back onto his stumps. Josh Davey was the next man in and handsomely clipped the first boundary of the day through mid-wicket off Dalrat.
Coetzer soon hit his first boundary of the day, in the same fashion, through mid-wicket, again off Dalrat to beat the fielder to the rope. The bowler was to come under further fire as Davey stuck him over long-off for six, followed by a straighter four the next ball to put Scotland on 44/1 in the 10th over.
The pair worked the ball around to good effect, after drinks they looked to accelerate as 3 boundaries came off the 20th over to move the score onto 91/1 with Coetzer on 36 and Davey on 46.
A single brought up Davey’s 50 in the 23rd over and Coetzer wasn’t far behind in bringing up his half century, as the increasing crowd cheered the Afghan bowlers, in particular Hammid Hassan.
Davey survived when he skied the ball, only for the sun to blind Hassan as he pulled out of the catch and punished later in the over as he cut the same bowler through backward point for four.
Davey was eventually dismissed when an in swinging yorker by Hassan, clipped hi leg stump after scoring 64 (90b) to send the crowd into raptures, with Scotland on 144/2.
Afghanistan had their tails up following the wicket of Davey, but Coetzer silenced them with four boundaries coming from a Hammid Hassan over, which included three cracking drives through the covers to move him into the 90’s . Machan looked a little unlucky to be given out LBW, looking to work the ball into the leg-side.
Coetzer wasn’t to be denied his century, nudging a single and then looked to life the run-rate with some great striking of the ball to all parts of the ground.
Eventually the Northants player was run out, attempting to go for a second run and a good throw from the boundary saw him short of his ground, finishing on 133 runs from 136 balls –the highest score in an ODI by a Scottish batsmen.
Mommsen, and Berrington couldn’t make too much impact on the score as Scotland found themselves on 193/5 in the 41st over, just at the point when they would have looked to kick on.
Some good running between the lower order batsmen got the final innings score up to 259/9 after 50 overs.
Shazhad came out swinging, and launched a Davey delivery to deep square leg where Taylor took the catch, unfortunately for Scotland his foot was over the rope and the umpire signalled 6. This was to be the start of a flurry of boundaries for Shazhad who raced to 41/0 in the 7th over.
Rob Taylor came on to bowl and claimed a wicket in his second over of international cricket, and it was the danger man, Shazhad, when he spooned a catch to Mommsen after scoring 48 (34b) including 5x4s and 3x6s.
Mangal was looking to replicate his innings on Wednesday but was unable to cut free and ended up offering Drummond an easy catch, which he duly took, to send him back to the pavilion for 30.
Asghar and Rahmat Shah kept the scoreboard ticking over with ones and twos, and brought up the 50 partnership in the 30th over but, Murphy then produced a brilliant bit of glove-work down the leg-side to dismiss Asghar a couple of balls later off the bowling of Davey.
Rahmat Shah made 35 before trying to pull a Wardlaw delivery, only to loop an easy catch to Richie Berrington.
Mohammed Nabi and Sammulah joined each other at the crease and both moved the score along with patience, creeping towards the total and setting up a tense finish.
Nabi reached his 50 in the 44th over until he attempted to clear the long on fence only to send the ball into the air and MacLeod completed the catch.
At the end of the 46th over Afghanistan had reached 242/5 and with 18 runs required from 24 balls the game was still in the balance, unfortunately for the visitors, two fours from Machan’s over put Afghanistan firmly in the driving seat.
Gulbodin Naib finished the match with a drive over the covers to give Afghanistan the win and blow the World Cup Qualifying table wide open.
Scotland have a home series against Kenya and will now need a result against Ireland if they are to progress.