Late order heroics hand Afghanistan victory after a middle order collapse against Scotland in Dunedin

Afghanistan beat Scotland by one wicket with three balls to spare to claim their first World Cup win.

Chasing 211 in Dunedin, Afghanistan were reduced to 97-7 but Samiullah Shenwari’s 96 gave them hope.

Josh Davey took the tricky catch on the deep midwicket boundary off Majid Haq, leaving Afghanistan needing 19 off 19 balls with one wicket in hand to chase down Scotland’s modest total of 210.

But No.11 Shahpoor Zadran saw Afghanistan home with three balls to spare, picking off a low full toss on leg stump to win the match with a boundary.

Scotland had earlier rallied from 144-8 to make 210, but their search for a first World Cup win goes on.

They have now lost all 11 matches they have played in three World Cups, surpassing the Netherlands’ previous record of 10 successive defeats from debut.

“That was an amazing game of cricket. Not the highest quality but as dramatic as I have seen in a long time. Afghanistan, against all the odds, have triumphed. Scotland are disconsolate” commented Former England bowler Vic Marks.

 Samiullah Shenwari played the kind of World Cup innings Brian Lara would’ve been proud of, singlehandedly lifting his side from the depths of depression to within kissing distance of victory. Coming to the crease with the score on 46 for 2, and watching the scoreboard slip to 97 for 7, Shenwari (96) did not leave till the 47thover, when one booming slogsweep too many missed the meat of the bat and floated down the throat of the long-on fielder. With 19 still needed, though, Scotland was back in the game.

After being set a modest target of 211 – and this was courtesy Scotland’s best batting effort in a World Cup match – Afghanistan began strongly. Javed Ahmadi bossed over the bowling. Nawroze Mangal was more subdued, and did not receive as much of the strike, getting to 7 off 13 before a slightly lazy stroke was beaten by a ball from Alasdair Evans that came back in just enough to castle the batsman.

The Scottish heads lifted when new batsman Asghar Stanikzai was out just a couple of balls later, but there was no real breakthrough until opener Javed Ahmadi was caught flailing at a delivery to provide a difficult catch for Machan. He went for 51 and Afghanistan were 3-85.

Afghanistan then went into free fall, losing four wickets for 12 runs with only Shenwari able to stick around. And stick around he did. Shenwari brought up his 50 in the 35th over off 113 balls – just the 10th time in ODIs an Afghanistan batsman faced more than 99 deliveries. It was ebb and flow from there until Zadran hit the winning runs.

Scotland looked in trouble on 8-144 at the end of the 37th over. But a stubborn 62-run stand from Evans and Haq helped Scotland edge over 200 runs for the first time in a World Cup.

Captain Preston Mommsen said the loss was a tough one to swallow.

“We had them seven down pretty early on, so we’re very disappointed we couldn’t finish them off,” he said.

TEAMS

Afghanistan: Mohammad Nabi (c), Javed Ahmadi, Nawroz Mangal, Asghar Stanikzai, Samiullah Shenwari, Najibullah Zadran, Afsar Zazai, Gulbadin Naib, Dawlat Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Shapoor Zadran.

Scotland: Preston Mommsen (c), Calum MacLeod, Kyle Coetzer, Hamish Gardiner, Matt Machan, Richie Berrington, Matthew Cross, Josh Davey, Majid Haq, Alasdair Evans, Iain Wardlaw.