World Twenty20 2016: Scotland fall short against Afghanistan

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport
ICC World Twenty20 Group B, Nagpur:
Afghanistan 170-5 (20 overs): Shahzad 61* (39), Evans 1-24
Scotland 156-5 (20 overs): Munsey 41 (29), Rashid Khan 2-28
Afghanistan won by 14 runs
Scorecard & standings

Scotland missed the chance to record a first victory at a World Twenty20 as Afghanistan held on to win by 14 runs in Nagpur.

Set 171 to win, Scotland were well placed when openers George Munsey and Kyle Coetzer shared 84 in nine overs.

But as the Afghan spinners took hold, the Scots lost 4-24 and fell short on 156-5.

Earlier, Mohammad Shahzad hit 61 from only 39 balls and Asghar Stanikzai 55 not out as Afghanistan posted 170-5.

For Afghanistan, coached by former Pakistan batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq, it is the ideal start to a qualifying campaign from which one team from each group of four will advance to the main draw.

Scotland, however, will now need other results to go their way if they are to have a chance of reaching the second week.

Scotland's wait continues

Scotland have played in three previous World T20s and three World Cups - 19 games in total - without recording a win in a major ICC global event.

The closest they came was against the same opponents at last year's World Cup, when Afghanistan completed a thrilling run-chase in the final over to win by one wicket.

Here, Scotland had their opportunity, firstly when their bowlers applied the brakes in the second half of the Afghanistan innings and when Munsey and Coetzer were together.

But, after Coetzer holed out, the Scots fell behind and 39 runs off the final three overs was too big an ask.

George Munsey
George Munsey hit nine fours in his 29-ball 42

Spun out

While Coetzer busily accumulated and enjoyed some luck, Munsey showed power through the off side, before both fell in the space of three balls.

Coetzer dragged a Samiullah Shenwari long hop to deep square leg, while Munsey was lbw to 17-year-old leg-spinner Rashid Khan.

Indeed, Scotland faltered as Afghanistan used the slow Nagpur pitch to bowl 12 consecutive overs of spin.

While Matt Machan remained, they had hope, but after he sliced to point in off-spinner Mohammad Nabi's excellent penultimate over, the game was as good as done.

Shahzad sparkles

That Afghanistan, the highest-ranked Associate nation in T20 cricket, got to a target that was out of reach was thanks to the squat figure of Shahzad.

Not only did the right-hander show inventiveness with ramps and reverse-sweeps, but also the raw power to hit three sixes in four balls.

But after he lofted the left-arm spin of Mark Watt to long-on, Scotland halted the charge. At one point, Afghanistan went four overs without finding a boundary.

Captain Stanikzai was steady rather than destructive - his 50-ball stay included only three boundaries - so late impetus came from Shafiqullah's five-ball 14.

What they said

Scotland captain Preston Mommsen: "Unfortunately we couldn't quite get over the line, we lost a couple of wickets at crucial times and it wasn't to be.

"We got a brilliant start but couldn't keep the foot on the accelerator and it wasn't enough. If we'd kept them to 10-15 runs less it would have been a fairer reflection of our efforts, we've just got to address that middle period when their spinners tied us down."

Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai: "The opening partnership started well and our total was good as it was a slow wicket. The first win is very important for us. We need good line and length bowling in the first 10 overs."

What's next?

Scotland meet Zimbabwe on the same ground at 09:30 GMT on Saturday knowing that defeat will mean elimination. Afghanistan can move closer to the main draw later that day when they take on Hong Kong.

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