Afghanistan got their campaign off to winning start on the opening day of the World Twenty20 after beating a spirited Scotland by 14 runs in Nagpur, Western India yesterday. In the second match of the day, favourites Afghanistan rode on an entertaining fifty from Mohammad Shahzad. Choosing to bat, Afghanistan built on an 82-run second wicket partnership between skipper Asghar Stanikzai (55 not out) and Shahzad (61) to post 170 for five.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Shahzad brought the house down with his colourful strokeplay. His 39-ball stay, laced with five boundaries and three sixes, gave the side enough momentum to keep the total out of the reach of Scotland, who could only muster 156 for five in their 20 overs.
The Preston Mommsen-led side got off to a flying start only to lose the plot after the departure of their openers George Munsey (41) and Kyle Coetzer (40).
At 84 for no loss, Scotland looked set to overhaul their target but spinners Samiullah Shenwari and Rashid Khan had other ideas. The leg-spin duo shared three wickets between them to hurt the Scotland chase by stifling the flow of runs amidst the growing run-rate.
Though guilty of a few slip-ups in the field, Afghanistan also produced a crucial run out in the 11th over as Scotland lost three of their batsmen in the space of 10 deliveries. Matt Machan then tried hard to get the chase back on track with a hard-working 36, but Afghanistan kept their nerves to get an expected result in their favour. Bangladesh will play Netherlands, while Ireland will meet Oman in the two Group A matches today.
Afghanistan 170 for 5 (Shahzad 61, Stanikzai 55 not out) beat Scotland 156 for 5 (Munsey 41, Coetzer 40, Rashid 2-28) by 14 runs
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