A collective effort from their batters took Afghanistan to an imposing 190/4 in 20 overs against Scotland in a Group 2 match of Super 12 stage in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup at Sharjah Cricket Stadium here on Monday.
Hazratullah Zazai and Mohammad Shahzad set the platform for a 54-run opening stand. It was followed by scintillating knocks from Rahmanullah Gurbaz (46 off 37 balls) and Najibullah Zadran (59 off 34 balls), who ensured that Afghanistan di'n't throw away the early advantage.
After electing to bat first, Afghanistan was off to a flying start, reaching fifty in 5.1 overs, the fastest half-century by a team in the tournament. It was down to Hazratullah Zazai and Mohammad Shahzad scoring seven boundaries between themselves. But pacer Safyaan Sharif delivered the first breakthrough for Scotland as Shahzad holed out to deep mid-wicket.
Post power-play, Scotland were able to slow down as Zazai was taken out by a toe-crushing yorker from Mark Watt, which deflected from the toe-end of his bat and hit off-stump. Najibullah Zadran began with a boundary off Chris Greaves. On the other hand, Rahmanullah Gurbaz started slow but joined the run-making party by sweeping Greaves for a six followed by a paddle for four more.
From overs 15 to 18, Afghanistan hit four sixes, three of which came of' Gurbaz's bat. But the partnership was broken by Josh Davey as his slower full toss was sliced by Gurbaz to extra cover. Zadran reached his fifty in 30 balls with a single. Though Zadran fell on the final ball of the innings off Sharif, he had done his work of taking Afghanistan to the highest score of the tournament so far as 63 runs came off the last five overs.
Brief scores: Afghanistan 190/4 in 20 overs (Najibullah Zadran 59, Rahmanullah Gurbaz 46, Safyaan Sharif 2/33, Mark Watt 1/23) against Scotland