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Afghans script memorable day

Afghanistan marked the biggest day of their sporting history after defeating Scotland by one wicket for their first victory in their maiden World Cup appearance.


The warn-torn country has a fairy tale story in their journey to World Cup who were languishing at the World Cricket League Division-V in seven years back. Going through a lot of hardship and resource less state back home, it was one of the most memorable days of their cricket when No 10 batsman Shapoor Zadran spread his hands wide in a victory celebration after slamming Iain Wardlaw for a boundary when the Afghans needed four runs from the last four balls.


Afghanistan had begun the tournament with a 105-run crushing from Bangladesh before narrowly losing to giants Sri Lanka by four wickets in the second.


Afghanistan, ranked just ahead of the Scots among the Associates, did the best with their ball when they dismissed Scotland for 210 all out in 50 overs. After a 49-run start, their chase spectacularly tumbled reduced to 97-7 in before Samiullah Shenwari played the most precious innings of his life before tail enders Shappor (12) and Hamid Hassan (14) guided them to 211-9 with three balls to spare.


Javed Ahmadi and Nawroz Mangal (seven) began cautiously for the Afghans taking them close to 50. Richie Berrington then picked up three wickets including that of opener Ahmadi and Jush Davey took two as Afghanistan collapsed to 97-7 in 23.4 overs.


Shenwari was still there and he rebuilt the innings with a 35-run stand with Dawlat Zadran (seven) before Berrington removed the latter. In a defining stand, Shenwari partnered with Hassan adding 60 runs for the ninth wicket until Majid Haq brought Scotland back into the match.


After being hit for three sixes in the 47th over, Haq had his revenge dismissing Shenwari catching him just four short of Afghan’s first World Cup century. Shenwari smashed seven boundaries and five sixes. With 19 runs more to win from 18 balls, Afghanistan pinned hope on their tail enders who did the unlikely.


Scotland had lost their first two Group ‘A’ games against hosts New Zealand and England and with Afghanistan up next they needed to lift themselves from the gloom but it didn’t come with the bat.


The Scots were undone by two Zadrans – Shapoor and Dawlat – who shared seven wickets between them to unsettle Scotland. They were heading towards a below-par total at 144-8 in 36.4 overs before Haq and Alasdair Evans added 60 runs for the ninth wicket to put some respectable score on the board.


Haq was the joint leading scorer for Scotland with Matt Machan. Both batsmen made 31 runs with Machan hitting four boundaries in 28 balls. Haq struck three fours in his 51-ball innings. Evans (28), opener Kyle Coetzer (25), Berrington (25), Preston Mommsen (23) were their next best scorers.


Shapoor picked up 4-38 from 10 overs and Dawlat had the figures of 3-29.

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