Mangal 100 leads Afghanistan to victory
Afghanistan 203 for 3 (Mangal 112*, Shenwari 55*) beat Scotland 199 for 8 (Berrington 51, Gulbodin Naib 4-31) by seven wickets | [Scorecard]
Scotland made a confident start against Afghanistan in their first World Cricket League fixture in Sharjah.
After Afghanistan had won the toss and elected to field first in the humid heat, Hammid Hassan and Gulbadin Nabi opened the bowling for the hosts.
The first maximum came shortly afterwards when Coetzer rocked onto the back foot to hook a short delivery over square leg and followed it up shortly afterwards with another boundary through third man.Kyle Coetzer and Calum MacLeod opened the batting for Scotland, and Coetzer was the man to strike the first boundary of the day through backward point.
Coetzer looked in good touch until he mistimed a shot to mid-wicket where Asghar Stanikzai was there to take the catch. MacLeod soon followed as he drove a delivery into the hands of Mohammad Nabi at short extra cover to leave Scotland on 34 for 2 after 8.1 over.
Matt Machan, who has performed well with the bat so far on tour, joined Richie Berrington in the searing heat to build a useful partnership.
Due to the slow wicket, boundaries were hard to come by for the Scots, but the pair swept and drove the ball to good effect around taking ones and twos.
In tandem they both moved towards half centuries, on a wicket that was starting to offer a bit of turn for the spinners. Berrington reached his 50 in the 34th over, when a wild over throw trundled over the rope.
The Berrington and Machan combination was broken 1 run short of the 100 partnership, as Machan, who has scored 44, got a faint edge through to Shazhad the wicket-keeper in the 34th over.
The key wicket of Berrington would soon follow an over later, caught down the leg side - the debate will rage on as to whether there had been any connection with his bat, but after a muted appeal, the umpire raised his finger and Scotland had two new batsmen at the crease.
Preston Mommsen came to the middle, but was caught at cover after facing six deliveries when Gulbodin Naib claimed his second wicket of the day. This meant that Scotland had lost three wickets for 25 runs, and would find it difficult to post a score that would trouble the dangerous Afghanistan.
Iqbal and Drummond helped to boost the total with some good boundary hitting at the end, as Scotland finished the innings on 199/8 from 50 overs.
Shazhad, who has been Afghanistan’s best batsmen in the previous two T20s opened the innings, and wasted no time in taking the attack to the Scotland openers, as Wardlaw and Safyaan both got taken for two boundaries in their initial overs.
Scotland got the break through when Shazhad nicked an Iain Wardlaw delivery and Murphy took the catch behind the stumps. Afghanistan kept coming at the Scottish bowlers until Wardlaw dropped a delivery short to Agshar, who pulled the ball high into the air, and Machan took a comfortable catch on the deep square leg boundary.
By this time the score had moved briskly onto 40/2 and the Scots were buzzing around the field searching for another wicket and it soon came after Rehman was soon trapped LBW by Majid Haq – that wicket meant that Haq would equal former Scotland bowler, John Blain’s record of 41 Scotland wickets.
Nawroz Mangal kept his cool in the heat and started by building a patient innings, but still punishing the bad ball when it came.
He brought up his 50 in style with a six over mid-on, which was soon followed by another over mid-wicket to put Afghanistan firmly in charge at 124/3 at the start of the 24th over.
What followed could probably best be described as carnage, with Preston Mommsen having to endure the start of the Mangal assault - taking 25 runs off one over , which included three big sixes, one going out of the ground again over mid-wicket and a four through the covers.
He was to bring up his 100 with a pull behind square down to the boundary – his century coming from 85 balls and included 6x4s and 6x6s.
It was finished in style as Shenwari and Mangal saw the host’s home with some impressive hitting in the 34th over.
The disappointment in the Scottish dressing room was evident as the players headed back into the pavilion, but Scotland must remain positive and keep working in in these difficult conditions on the back of this disappointing result.