In the battle of minnows, Afghanistan trumped Scotland by one wicket in a thriller at the University Oval

After being humbled by Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in their first two World Cup games in 2015, Afghanistan registered their maiden and only victory of the tournament at Dunedin on February 26.

In the battle of minnows, Afghanistan trumped Scotland by one wicket in a thriller at the University Oval. The victory was largely possible due to Samiullah Shinwari’s brilliant 96.

Put into bat, Scotland managed just 210 all out in their 50 overs thanks to some incisive medium pace bowling from the Zadran brothers – Shapoor (4-38) and Dawlat (3-29). The Scotsmen struggled to get going as Matthew Machan and Rana Haq were the joint top-scorers with 31 runs. The only partnership of note was the 52-run ninth-wicket stand between Rana and Alasdair Evans (28), an alliance that helped Scotland go past the 200-run mark.

Afghan opener Javed Ahmadi (51) provided a solid start despite the early departure of his partners, Nawroz Mangal and Asghar Afghan. Javed’s dismissal sparked off a mini-collapse as Afghanistan lost their next five wickets for 11 runs.

However, Samiullah waged a lone battle. With Afghanistan just 18 runs away from victory, his dismissal put the game in the balance. There was a collective sigh of relief when Shapoor hit the winning runs on the third ball of the final over to achieve a memorable chase.

Did you know?

Chetan Sharma is the first bowler to take a hat-trick in the World Cup. His feat came against New Zealand at Nagpur during the 1987 edition. All his victims – Ken Rutherford, Ian Smith and Ewen Chatfield – were clean bowled.

Figured out

New Zealand’s James Franklin holds the record for the highest strike-rate in a World Cup innings – 387.50. This incredible figure emerged from Franklin’s eight-ball 31 which included a couple of fours and three sixes as NZ piled up 358-6 against Canada in the 2011 edition. The Kiwis triumphed by 97 runs.

Player to watch: Nicholas Pooran

HE may be just one ODI old, but West Indies’ young left-handed wicketkeeper-batsman Nicholas Pooran’s power-hitting was enough to convince the selectors to pick him in their World Cup squad. Pooran couldn’t have timed his World Cup selection better than Wednesday when he unleashed his shots during the 46-run knock for Kings XI Punjab against RCB. Although his sensational 28-ball innings ended in a losing cause, it proved his ability.

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