Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rashid Khan spun the web around Scotland and took nine wickets among them.
Afghanistan 190 for 4 in 20 overs (Najibullah Zadran 59, Rahmanullah Gurbaz 46; Safyaan Sharif 2/32) beat Scotland 60 all out in 10.2 overs (George Munsey 25; Mujeeb Ur Rahman 5/20, Rashid Khan 4/9) by 130 runs
Afghanistan posted their best-ever total in the T20 World Cup at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday in the 5th match of the Super 12 stage of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 on Monday against Scotland. Scotland scripted history this time around by entering the league of the top 12 teams contesting in the pinnacle event of T20I cricket for bagging the silverware. Afghanistan made full use of the opportunity they got by winning the toss to take the driver's seat in the game at the Sharjah Cricket Ground that already witnessed a high-scoring affair yesterday.
Afghanistan off to an escalating start
Boasting of some of the most sought-after players, especially batters in their side, Afghanistan got off to a steady start. Openers Hazratullah Zazai and Mohammad Shahzad scored runs at ease against the Scotland bowlers. Both the batters scored 54 runs for the opening wicket and also 50+ runs in the powerplay.
Afghanistan’s first wicket fell at the score of 54 with Shahzad trying to go for a big one, but not long enough to clear the ropes. He was dismissed for 22 by the medium-pacer Safyaan Sharif who finished with 2/18 to end up as the most successful Scotland bowler in the innings.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz walked in to the middle after Shahzad’s dismissal. He too looked hungry to compile runs after settling down on the crease. As he settled on the crease and was looking to flourish the 28-run partnership he weaved with Zazai, Mark Watt struck for Scotland. The slow left-armer dismissed the latter for 44 with a beautiful yorker knocking down his off stump in the 10th over.
Following Zazai’s dismissal, Najibullah Zadran came in to the middle. He barely took time to settle and cranked a searing half-ton to put Afghanistan in the dominating position as they posted a challenging target of 190 losing four wickets in 20 overs.
A calm and composed Zadran scored 59 off 34 balls, including five fours and three sixes. He was assisted by Gurbaz with whom he stitched an 87-run partnership. Gurbaz smacked 46 runs off 37 deliveries comprising of five boundaries and three huge sixes. The duo laid the foundation for Afghanistan’s highest total in the T20 World Cup tournament.
Scotland fail to capitalize on good start
Chasing a stiff total of 191 runs, Scotland got off to a cautious yet decent start. Openers George Munsey and Kyle Coetzer found cheeky boundaries off Mohammad Nabi’s first over. However, as soon as Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi introduced Mujeeb-Ur Rahman, the Scotland batters lost their ease. Munsey seemed to have lost control of his shots as he started mistiming the ball although finding a luck boundary due to that.
On the other hand, the Scotland batter Saltires Coetzer became the first victim of Mujeeb as the side lost their first wicket at the score of 28. Mujeeb Ur Rahman celebrated his first wicket of the ICC T20 World Cup tournament.
Afghanistan spinners spin-web Scotland’s chase
Shortly after dismissing Coetzer, Mujeeb took down new batters Calum MacLeod and Richie Berrington for a golden duck in the same over. He missed his well-deserved hattrick chance but he inflicted enough damage to Scotland and changed the course of the game.
Following his success, Nabi brought in Rashid Khan who did the rest of the job by rattling the middle-order of Scotland. Rashid started off by trapping Michael Leask in front of the stumps in the 7th over. He was also accompanied by Mujeeb who took his 5th wicket of the game by cleaning up Mark Watt for just 1. Mujeeb finished with 5/20, also his career-best figures in T20I cricket.
Rest of the job was done cleanly by Rashid as he took down the middle and lower order of Scotland with next three wickets in the next few overs.
Scotland were eventually bundled out for 60 runs in just 10.2 overs with Munsey scoring the highest of 25 runs, while the side witnessed as many as five ducks during the chase.
The duo of Mujeeb and Rashid shared nine wickets among themselves while the medium pacer Naveen-ul-Haq took the remaining one wicket as Afghanistan won the game by 130 runs.
Afghanistan also scripted the biggest margin of victory in the shortest format of the game especially in the T20 World Cup tournament.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman lifted the player of the match award for his first five-wicket haul as he led his side to their first win of the tournament.
Stats and facts:
- Highest totals in T20 World Cups for Afghanistan 190/4 v SCO, Sharjah 2021 186/6 v ZIM, Nagpur 2016
- Afghanistan have had the best success rate among Full Member sides, winning 29 out of 36 T20I matches since the last edition of ICC T20 World Cup.
- Afghanistan’s innings was studded with 11 sixes, with three of them beyond 100 metres of distance.
- Five LBW dismissals in a T20I innings Ned vs SL, Sharjah 2021 Sco vs Afg, Sharjah 2021
- Biggest wins in T20 WCs (by runs) 172 - SL vs Ken, Jo’burg 2007 130 - SA vs Sco, The Oval 2009 130 - Afg vs Sco, Sharjah 2021