The ball of the day
Dawlat Zadran had been moving the ball away from the right-handers consistently. Sometimes he gained so much swing that he was bowling a leg stump line and seeing the batsmen fishing for the ball as it passed the off stump. While there was no sign of an inswinger, Zadran dismissed Kyle Coetzer with a ball delivered from wide of the crease and angled in; much in the manner of Tim Southee. It was a fine, intelligent piece of bowling that took advantage of the gap between Coetzer's bat and pad, and had been set up through consistent outswing.
A fine delivery deserved an excellent catch. Afsar Zazai, diving far and low to his right to take a ball that would not have reached first slip, clung on to an outstanding catch to dismiss Matthew Cross. The ball, delivered round the wicket from the left-arm Shapoor Zadran, was banged in just back of a length and, straightening just a fraction and bouncing nicely, caught the edge of Cross' bat but was dying by the time it reached Zazai. It was outstanding cricket all round from Afghanistan.
Hamid Hassan came close to dismissing Hamish Gardiner twice before he finally made the breakthrough. That those two instances came off the two previous deliveries meant there was an inevitability about the wicket. Hassan hit Gardiner's front pad with the third ball of his third over, a ball that came in. The next ball went over the middle and leg stump after the batsman, clearly rattled, had walked across the stumps. The third one was full and straight. Gardiner, stuck in the crease, played across the line to be trapped lbw.
Matt Machan and Preston Mommsen had made batting appear straightforward. The pair had added 53 for the fourth wicket in 10 overs and were beginning to exploit the weakest area of Afghanistan's game - their fielding - by placing the ball into gaps and running hard. But then Machan, so solid up to that point, had a moment of madness and, in trying to give himself room to carve the offspin of Mohammad Nabi over cover, missed and lost his off stump. It was an unnecessary, reckless bit of batting.
As impressive as Afghanistan can be with ball and bat, their ground fielding can at times be a bit messy. Scotland's first runs came through a misfield by Asghar Stanikzai, then there were a few more as fielders fumbled, but none as poor as the five they conceded in the 45th over. Gulbadin Naib's throw from point would have found Majid Haq short, but he missed, and so did the fielder backing up at long-off, Dawlat Zadran, as he dived over the ball and let it slip to the boundary.
Two fielders chasing down a ball is a norm these days, but usually one puts the slide and the other relays the throw back. Calum MacLeod was there to support Kyle Coetzer when Nawroz Mangal hit through covers in the sixth over. Coetzer put in an excellent slide but it merely redirected the ball to his right. MacLeod, though, was alert enough to change direction and put in a dive to flick the ball back, saving a run in process.