Stanikzai leads Afghanistan's dominance
Afghanistan 349 for 5 (Stanikzai 88*, Sadiq 67, Shahzad 54, Shenwari 50*) v Scotland
Afghanistan's batsmen dominated Scotland after being inserted on the first day of the Intercontinental Cup fixture in Ayr. Each of the top five batsmen got off to a start and though none managed to reach three-figures, Nawroz Mangal should be pleased with his team's efforts.
Noor Ali Zadran and Karim Sadiq set the tone early, adding 67 runs without too many problems in 14.4 overs as the hosts settled for a day of toil. Noor Ali had stroked six fours in a 38-ball 36 when he was run out, after deciding late to go for a fourth run. Mohammad Shahzad, who came in at one-drop, anchored proceedings with Sadiq as the visitors set their sights on a big score. Sadiq raised his half-century first, off 102 balls inclusive of seven fours, and Scotland reprieved him immediately, Qasim Sheikh dropping a chance at slip. Shahzad hit a six and six fours in his 90-ball 54 when Matthew Parker intervened. Both the set batsmen departed, edging Parker behind within the space of two overs as Scotland saw an opening.
Mangal settled at one end to thwart Scotland's hopes of making further inroads while Asghar Stanikzai kept the scoreboard moving briskly. He announced his intentions early, lofting Majid Haq for a six off the second ball he faced, and repeating the treatment in his next over. Mangal opened up against Dewald Nel, hitting a couple of fours leading up to tea and the visitors went into the break with the upper hand.
Iqbal sent Mangal back on resumption, inducing him to mis-hit a loft. Mohammad Nabi could not last long and perished for 10 runs, but Samiullah Shenwari ensured that his side did not feel the loss. Stanikzai was given two lives off Haq, the wicketkeeper Simon Smith missing a stumping and a catch respectively, and Scotland paid dearly for the errors. A flurry of boundaries before stumps meant Shenwari reached his fifty before stumps and the pair looked good to add to their unbroken 95-run association on the second day.