Hamid Hassan five-for seals Afghanistan win
Afghanistan 435 (Shenwari 102, Stanikzai 93) and 249 for 5 dec (Shahzad 105*) beat Scotland 139 (Nel 36, Hassan 6-40) and 316 (Chalmers 67, Hassan 5-114) by 229 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Afghanistan climbed to the top of the Intercontinental Cup table with a resounding win over Scotland, whom they displaced, on the fifth day in Ayr. Medium-pacer Hamid Hassan bagged five wickets to help Afghanistan beat their opponents, who had been set a target of 546, by 229 runs.
Afghanistan had bagged two wickets by the end of the third day but Scotland put in an improved performance in their second innings to make the bowlers fight for their wickets. Ewan Chalmers top scored with 67 and the middle and lower orders chipped in with important contributions, though in vain.
Scotland lost three wickets in quick succession, leaving too much for their lower order to achieve. Richie Berrington and Qasim Sheikh were dismissed by Abdullah, who bowled a miserly spell of ten overs, conceding just six runs and grabbing two wickets. Chalmers fell with the score on 158 and though the rest built promising partnerships, Hassan chipped away at them to secure a mammoth win.
Moneeb Iqbal contributed a patient 42, so did Matthew Parker and the last five wickets added 158 but the target they had been set proved way beyond them. Hassan completed a memorable game, finishing with 11 wickets. He had grabbed 6 for 40 in the first innings to give his team a decisive advantage in the contest.
Reflecting on his performance, Hassan said, "It was a big achievement for me to get a 10-wicket haul but I just focused on getting a victory for my team. In the first innings, I bowled very well as the ball was swinging both ways, which is why their batting collapsed. In the second innings they batted with confidence and gave themselves a real chance of drawing the match. But we were very determined to win the match and go top of the table.
"I was very worried about my ankle and I bowled 27 overs with the injury. But everybody was trying very hard to take wickets. I said to my colleagues that I was going to take a risk with my injury and do whatever it takes to take the wickets. The doctor told me not to bowl, but I wanted to, so he bandaged my ankle up to my knee which is why I was able to bowl. It was a very good game and I am very pleased with my performance.
"Everybody worked very hard in batting and bowling and we all gave it 100 per cent. We will be trying our best to get in the final and bring the ICC Intercontinental Cup back to Afghanistan."
Hassan said four-day cricket required a lot of patience and one needed to focus on all the areas of one's game. "You have to concentrate on bowling really good balls to get the batters out, while our batters have learnt to wait to hit the loose ball. For me, it is an enjoyable form of the game as you have to learn to be patient and we have learnt lots of things. It is good for us to play four-day cricket as it helps us improve in one-day cricket as well."