Afghanistan prevail in thriller over Scotland

Cricket Stumps

Samiullah Shenwari's 96 proved the difference as Afghanistan beat Scotland by one wicket in the final over at the World Cup.

There was more drama in a match involving two associates at the World Cup - lending further credence to those who have poured scorn on the ICC's decision to limit their participation in the next event - as Afghanistan beat Scotland by just one wicket in the final over in Dunedin to record their first ever win at cricket's showpiece event.

In a contest that favoured the bowlers throughout, Samiullah Shenwari's knock of 96 for the Afghans was crucial to their success. However, he departed in the 47th over of their chase with 19 runs still needed, leaving the last-wicket pair of Hamid Hassan and Shapoor Zadran to edge their side home. Dawlat completed the win by flicking a low full toss from Iain Wardlaw to the long-leg boundary three balls in to the final over.

Afghanistan looked to have taken control at the halfway stage as they bowled out Scotland for 210 after electing to bowl first. Calum MacLeod was the first man to go, slapping a long-hop to backward point in Dawlat's first over.

There was then a brief period of rebuilding as Kyle Coetzer capitalised on some short bowling from the Afghans that limited the swing on offer. Dawlat and Hassan, though, soon located a better and fuller length and Hamish Gardiner was trapped LBW by the latter before Coetzer was bowled through the gate by a beauty from the impressive and pacy Dawlat.

The new pair of Matt Machan and Preston Mommsen batted nicely for a while, but their stand was brought to an end at 53 when the elegant Machan was bowled by Mohamamd Nabi for 31. Wickets continued to tumble as the seam bowlers continued to cause problems and the Scots - supported well by a crowd containing some of the sizeable number of people in Dunedin with Scottish roots - found themselves tottering on 144 for eight in the 37th over.

The ninth-wicket pair of Majid Haq - whose bat was broken by Dawlat during the stand - and Alasdair Evans added some backbone to the innings by putting on an important 62 to lift their side over 200. Shapoor wrapped things up by dismissing both men in the final over to end with figures of four for 38 to complement Dawlat, who was the most impressive of the Afghan attack and took three for 29.

A target of 211 should have been overhauled with relative ease, especially once Javed Ahmadi had given the Afghans a brisk start with an attacking 51. However, Evans began to sow some doubts by removing two of his partners, Nawroz Mangal and Asghar Stanikzai, in the eighth over, with Ahmadi's dismissal at the hands of Richie Berrington (4-40) triggering a collapse of five for 12 that put the Scots firmly in the driving seat.

A career-best 96 from Shenwari kept Afghanistan in the contest, however, and he found excellent support from the tail. Dawlat stayed with him to advance the score to 132, with Hassan then content to play second fiddle during a ninth-wicket partnership of 60 which came close to usurping the earlier effort from Haq and Evans. Samiullah holed out to end the stand and again hand the initiative to Scotland, but Hassan and Shapoor held their nerve to guide Afghanistan to a historic maiden World Cup win.

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