Opening batsman Mohammad Shahzad and captain Asghar Stanikzai smashed half-centuries as Afghanistan defeated Scotland by 14 runs in the World Twenty20 on Tuesday.
Shahzad hit five fours and three sixes in a superb display of power hitting to make 61 off 39 balls, while Stanikzai’s unbeaten 50-ball knock of 55 helped Afghanistan reach 170-5 in the first round Group B match.
Scotland couldn’t capitalize on a solid opening stand of 84 runs off 53 balls between George Munsey (41) and Kyle Coetzer (40) to finish on 156-5, with Afghanistan hitting back through leg-spinner Rashid Khan, who took 2-28.
“We started off well with the bat today and we were happy with the total because these are big boundaries,” Stanikzai said. “The wicket was a slow one … (and) it helped spinners.”
Munsey and Coetzer belted seamers for 53 runs in the first five overs but both departed in the space of three deliveries. Scotland is yet to register a win in World Twenty20 cricket after making winless appearances in the 2007 and 2009 editions.
Coetzer holed out at deep square leg off a short delivery by leg-spinner Samiullah Shenwari and Khan trapped Munsey leg before wicket off a fast leg-cutter in the next over.
“We had a great start, but couldn’t keep the foot on the accelerator and stay ahead,” Scotland captain Preston Mommsen said.
“I think if we had kept them down to 10-15 runs less in the first half, it would have been a good reflection of our effort.”
Earlier, Shahzad dominated an 82-run second wicket stand off 55 balls with Stanikzai, before he perished in the 13th over, caught at long on. Stanikzai, who won the toss and opted to bat, remained at the crease as Afghanistan lost three wickets in the last seven overs.
Zimbabwe earlier defeated Hong Kong by 14 runs in another Group B match. The top team will advance to the Super 10 stage and join England, West Indies, Sri Lanka and South Africa in Group 1