Afghanistan started their World Cup 2021 campaign in a grand manner. Scotland’s dream run in this edition of the World Cup was shattered in a matter of minutes. After electing to bat first, Afghan openers Hazratullah Zazai and Mohammad Shahzad went bang-bang from the word go. Though they lost Shahzad in the last over of the powerplay, they had 55 runs on board. In recent times, it has been difficult to score runs freely in the middle over in Sharjah. But, Afghan batsmen scored it with ease. The 87-run stand between Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Najibullah Zadran for the third wicket was the highlight. A collective performance from all their batsmen saw Afghanistan post a mammoth total of 190/4.
In reply, though the Scottish openers George Munsey and Kyle Coetzer scored 27 runs in the first three overs, they were hanging at the tip of the cliff with chancy strokes. The devastation started in the fourth over when Mujeeb Ur Rahman bagged three wickets. From there on, wickets flowed like water. Mujeeb in the first six had four wickets. The introduction of Rashid Khan worsened it more. In the end, Scotland were bundled out for 60 in 10.2 overs to hand Afghanistan a massive 130-run win. Here are a few notable stats from Match 17:
Afghanistan’s onslaught on Scotland
On their day, Afghanistan openers are one of the most fearsome strikers and in this match, everyone got to know why. The good thing was, the rest of the batsmen went berserk today. In total, their innings saw 11 sixes and 13 fours. By virtue of some clean striking, Afghanistan posted 190/4, their highest total in T20 WC. In addition, this total is also the second highest in T20Is in Sharjah.
Mujeeb bamboozles Scottish batsmen in powerplay
In the first over Mujeeb bowled, the Scottish batsmen had no clue as to which way the ball was spinning. This is one of the reasons why Munsey played right-handed – trying to switch-hit – most of the over. But, when the skipper Coetzer was exposed in his second over, Mujeeb was relentless. He bagged three wickets in his second over of the innings (4th of the innings). Later, he added one more to his count in the third and made it four in the first six overs. Only two other spinners have bagged four wickets in the first six overs of a T20I innings. Ravi Ashwin (4/5) in 2016 against Sri Lanka and Sulieman Benn (4/3) against Zimbabwe in 2010 (in a complete T20I match).
Makes a mark in his first World Cup appearance
Playing for the first time in a World Cup, Mujeeb etched his name in the record books. With the wicket of Mark Watt in the eighth over, his last, Mujeeb became the first ever bowler in T20 WC to bag a five-wicket haul on T20 WC debut. Previously, Mark Gillespie off New Zealand in 2007 against Kenya had four wickets for seven runs, the best bowling figures by a WC debutant.
In addition, Mujeeb became the second youngest bowler at the age of 20 years and 211 days to bag a five-wicket haul in T20 WC. Mustafizur Rahman’s five-for against New Zealand in 2016 at 20 years and 202 days is the youngest.
A duckling tale
The Scotland batsmen between 3-6 scores read: 0 (1), 0 (3), 0 (1) & 0 (5). In T20Is, this is the first ever instance of all their team’s number three to six batsmen registering a duck in an innings. With Brad Wheal also registering a duck at number 11, Scotland’s tally of ducks in their innings went up to five. Only Kenya in 2007 against New Zealand have registered more ducks in an innings in a T20 WC. Netherlands in their match against Ireland in the qualifiers stage of 2021 also had five ducks.
Afghanistan announce themselves with a massive win
After Afghanistan set 191 as the target, Scotland were almost out of the game. However, a crumble of this sort wasn’t expected, especially after making their way through to the Super 12 stage unscathed. The wizardry of two Afghan spinners was too much to handle as they were bundled out for 60. Hence, handing Afghanistan a win by 130-run margin, the joint-second biggest margin of victory for a team in T20 WC.
Afghan spinners run havoc
When Afghanistan posted 190/4, Scotland needed a miracle to chase it down considering the spin threat of Afghanistan. However, as expected, the Afghan spinners waved their magic wand. Mujeeb in the powerplay bagged four and added one more in his last over and Rashid cleaned up the rest with a four-wicket haul. In T20Is, this was only the second time a team’s two spinners had picked up four or more wickets in an innings. Oman’s spinners Khawar Ali (4/16) and Zeeshan Maqsood (4/7) in 2019 against the Netherlands are the other two to achieve this feat.