Afghanistan 178 for 6 (Shahzad 84) beat Scotland 132 (Wallace 33, Nabi 3-26) by 78 runs (D/L method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Rajput teaching us to handle pressure - Shahzad
Afghanistan batsman Mohammad Shahzad speaks about Afghanistan's successful transitions between formats and coach Lalchand Rajput's influence
Mohammad Shahzad produced his fifth ODI fifty for Afghanistan, a typically belligerent knock, to set up a 78-run win via the Duckworth-Lewis method over Scotland at The Grange on Wednesday afternoon. In another stop-start day of cricket, Afghanistan made the most of Shahzad's excellent foundation and eventually sauntered home despite an audacious early reply from the hosts in pursuit of an adjusted DLS target of 211 in 36 overs.
Shahzad reached his half-century off 55 balls and eventually finished with 84 off 91 balls, including eight fours and two sixes, to set up a total of 178 for 6 in 37.2 overs prior to a three-hour, ten-minute rain delay. Shahzad went after all the Scotland bowlers including Safyaan Sharif - who bowled a mostly tidy opening spell of 0 for 24 in eight overs, with two maidens - thrice striking him over midwicket for boundaries. In the 15th over, he launched Ruaidhri Smith's full length over mid-on for both of his sixes.
The opener offered one chance to Con de Lange, whose left-arm spin kept Afghanistan's lineup harnessed throughout the middle overs after the loss of Noor Ali Zadran and Javed Ahmadi. Shahzad tried to break free of the pressure on 60 and skipped down the pitch to loft de Lange but Brad Wheal spilled a simple chance at long-on, denying de Lange a deserved wicket on a day he finished with 0 for 16 in six. Shahzad fell to Smith in the end, a slower ball fooling the batsman. Shahzad couldn't keep his hands back long enough on the shot and a toe-edge was snapped up by Cross for the first of Wheal's two wickets.
Shahzad's dismissal swelled Scotland's momentum in the field, which had begun to build with the wicket of Monday's centurion Rahmat Shah for 26, taken at mid-off by Craig Wallace off Sharif one over prior to the fall of Shahzad. Alasdair Evans, who had earlier claimed the wicket of Noor Ali, removed captain Asghar Stanikzai with a bouncer fended awkwardly to Richie Berrington at backward point. Najibullah Zadran then miscued a drive to mid-off for Wheal's second wicket and Afghanistan had stumbled from 131 for 2 in the 29th over to 171 for 6 in the 37th. The rains came six balls later and the players sat for 190 minutes before play resumed with Scotland pursuing the adjusted target score.
The first seven overs of the Scotland chase were a thrill a minute as Craig Wallace, batting for the first time in ODIs in his third match, fearlessly charged the Afghanistan attack. Undeterred by the second-ball dismissal of Kyle Coetzer, caught at slip, Wallace declared his intentions in the first over, going down on one knee to slog-sweep the 140kph pace of Dawlat Zadran over deep square leg for six. In Dawlat's next over, he missed attempting the same shot and absorbed a nasty blow on the right shoulder but continued his crusade. In the fourth, Wallace hooked Shapoor Zadran for six and drove him to the cover rope to knock him out of the attack.
Cross then set about doing the same to Dawlat, cracking him over backward point before a pulled six over midwicket took the score to 46 for 1 in five overs. Mohammad Nabi was brought on in the sixth and should have had Wallace first ball after a charge down the pitch went awry but Shahzad fluffed a simple stumping on 21. The next two balls were struck for four and six by Wallace before Nabi ended the furious stand at 58 runs, getting Cross caught on the midwicket boundary by Najibullah Zadran for 24.
Legspinner Rashid Khan was then brought on from the Pavilion End and Wallace's stay ended for 33 courtesy an athletic return catch to swing momentum Afghanistan's way. Shapoor eventually returned in the 13th to claim captain Preston Mommsen, who hooked a bouncer straight to Rashid at long leg for 13. Mommsen's wicket crucially put Afghanistan ahead on D/L calculations for the first time and with rain threatening to come back at any moment, that advantage was further cemented three balls after drinks when Richie Berrington was given leg before to Nabi for 19 after missing a sweep.
Michael Leask was stumped for Nabi's third wicket before Shapoor bowled Sharif with a full delivery to take his second. Ruaidhri Smith drove Dawlat to Rashid in the covers to make it 122 for 8 as the serious challenge Scotland gave Afghanistan through most of the day became obscured by the flurry of wickets. A trio of lbw shouts from Rashid in the 27th over finally bore fruit with Evans trapped on the back leg before de Lange holed out to mid-on off Mirwais Ashraf to end the match, Scotland all out for 132 in 27.1 overs.
Afghanistan now head to Belfast to take on Ireland in the first of five ODIs starting July 10. Scotland's next action comes against UAE in August with a four-day Intercontinental Cup match followed by two ODIs in Aberdeen.