Afghanistan surge to Intercontinental title
Afghanistan 171 and 124 for 3 (Shahzad 56*) beat Scotland 212 and 82 (Ashraf 3-8, Shenwari 3-15, Hassan 3-39) by seven wickets
Afghanistan's rise through the cricket world continued as they secured the Intercontinental Cup in their first year of participation with a commanding seven-wicket victory against Scotland in Dubai. Mohammad Shahzad guided the pursuit of 124 with an unbeaten 56 after Scotland had been skittled for 82.
Scotland were facing an uphill battle at the start of the third day when they resumed on 64 for 6 and the lower order couldn't turn around their fortunes. The innings lasted just a further eight overs with Mirwais Ashraf claiming three quick wickets and Hamid Hassan completing a match-haul of eight when he removed Richie Berrington.
Karim Sadiq fell early in the chase, but Scotland needed more than one breakthrough to give Afghanistan a scare. Shahzad and Shabir Noori (35) added a brisk 55 to ease any tension in the dressing room. When Noori was caught behind, Narwoz Mangal hit four boundaries to take Afghanistan to the brink of victory.
Hassan was named Man of the Match and his coach, Rashid Latif, offered him high praise with comparisons to Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. "I kept wicket a lot with Wasim and Waqar who are both mentally and physically very strong and they used to bowl spells of 18 and 20 overs on the trot and to see Hamid come in and bowl 22 odd overs on the trot I think is amazing," he said. "I didn't think anybody could bowl 22 overs in a row, but Hamid did and it was simply great stuff."
Hassan, though, was more modest. " I don't know where I get the stamina to bowl 22 overs, I think I was just so desperate to make sure we won the final that I lost count of how many overs I had bowled," he said.
"It wasn't easy bowling as I've got a bit of a heel injury but all that mattered was that we won the final today. Credit should go to Scotland, they played well and particularly [Neil] McCallum who scored the century for Scotland on the first day."