AFGHANISTAN TOUR OF SCOTLAND, 2019
Rahmat Shah’s ton gave Afghanistan a series-clinching victory © Getty
An unforeseen event could always act as a hurdle and shatter dreams. That is when we usually take solace in the word ‘fate’. Over the last 15 months, Scotland have experienced cruel twists of fate. They fell short of the desired result twice on the back of DLS Method. In the World Cup Qualifiers last year, their dreams of qualifying for the mega event was quashed by rain as they lost to the West Indies by five runs via the DLS method. Just over 12 months later, rain again played spoilsport for Scotland, with Afghanistan eking out a two-run win as per the rain rule to clinch the series 1-0.
On the back of a fine hundred by Rahmat Shah, the Asian side had progressed to 269 for 3, in pursuit of 326 when the heavens opened up. Even though, Afghanistan had seven wickets in hand, the home side was very much in the game with the asking rate climbing to around 12 runs per over.
Afghanistan had made a rather steady start with the score reading 126 for 2 after 25 overs. Hazratullah Zazai and Mohammad Shahzad survived a few scares including the latter being clonked on the helmet by Bradley Wheal to give Afghanistan a quick start. However, Wheal continued to bowl a zestful spell and was rewarded with the scalp of Zazai. Shah and Shahzad then strung together a partnership of 93 to keep the tourists in the hunt. Shahzad took risks and found success. Shah too played with a touch of fearlessness, evidenced by the inside out lofted shot he cracked off Alasdair Evans in the 21st over.
In an attempt to up the scoring rate, Shahzad perished as he whipped one off Evans to the deep midwicket fielder. However, Scotland couldn’t make further incisions as the pair of Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi (59) put on a stand of 109 for the third wicket. Shah had a couple of reprieves, including an easy run out chance that was missed. Eventually, Richie Berrington lifted the spirits of the hosts by removing Shah. Asghar Afghan, the former skipper, and Shahidi added another vital stand of 39 in just five overs before the rain sealed Scotland’s fate.
Earlier, Calum MacLeod had composed a quickfire 89-ball 100 as the home team ended up with a substantial total. Scotland, who won the toss and opted to bat, started on a good note with the duo of Matthew Cross and Kyle Coetzer (79) sharing a stand of 76 for the opening wicket. Cross and Coetzer blended singles and twos with the occasional boundary to keep the scorecard ticking over. With Afghanistan searching for a wicket, Gulbadin Naib dismissed Cross.
At that juncture, Coetzer and McLeod joined forces to lay the foundation for the middle order with a partnership of 76. After Coetzer was dismissed, the pair of Richie Berrington and MacLeod strung together another fine stand of 72 in just 47 balls. George Munsey (28 off 13) and Craig Wallace (20 off 14) also played their parts to take Scotland past 300. It seemed a strong total, but unfortunately for them, fate and rain had other plans.
Brief scores: Scotland 325/7 in 50 overs (Calum MacLeod 100, Kyle Coetzer 79; Gulbadin 3-72) lost to Afghanistan 269/3 in 44.5 overs (Rahmat Shah 113; Tome Sole 1-47) by 2 runs via the DLS method.