Scotland fall two runs short as rain sees Afghanistan home in second ODI
Scotland put up a good fight against tenth-ranked Afghanistan in their first one-day international of the year, falling an agonising two runs short in a seven-wicket defeat on the Duckworth-Lewis method after posting a competitive total of 325 driven by Calum MacLeod’s fine century.
Afghanistan had wickets in hand heading into the last ten overs and, as the clouds gathered, Asghar Afghan and Hashmatullah Shahidi did enough to keep the visitors ahead on the D/L method as the rain started to pour, bringing the game to a premature end after the fifth ball of the 45th over with Afghanistan on 269-3.
After Wednesday’s washout, the Afghans took the two-match series in what was Shane Burger’s first match in charge as Scotland coach. For MacLeod, inset, it was back-to-back ODI centuries, and a second successive Scotland total above 300 as this was the team’s first official 50-over outing since the historic win against England 11 months ago at the same venue. On that day MacLeod blasted an incredible 140 not out but yesterday he was dismissed soon after reaching his eighth ODI century and Rahmat Shah’s 113 was key for Afghanistan. Burger will now prepare his men for the two-match series against former World Champions Sri Lanka, which starts next Saturday.
Scotland had progressed to 76 when Matthew Cross was caught behind for 32 off Gulbadin Naib. Kyle Coetzer passed 2000 runs and made his 13th ODI half century before finally having to depart for 79 when he was caught and bowled by Naib at 152-2. Scotland had passed 200 by the 39th over, during which new batsman Richie Berrington scored a maximum with a glorious ramp shot off quickie Dawlat Zadran and followed up with a slashing boundary to bring up the 50 partnership.
MacLeod crunched a thumping six to mid-off and then Berrington smacked a one-bounce four to mid-on two balls later but he perished next one up as Naib recovered to clean bowl him and take his third wicket. That brought the hard-hitting George Munsey in and after a few sighters he cut loose in the 42nd against Naib with a run of 4-6-6-4 to start the over, the highlight being a steepling six that went over the wall into Arboretum Avenue and the second four bringing up the 250. After Munsey had gone for an entertaining 28 off 13 balls, MacLeod reached that eighth ton in slightly hairy fashion as Hamid Hassan conjured a sniff of a caught-and-bowled chance but there was enough power on the stroke to get him through for the all-important single. He was then caught on the square-leg boundary for 100.
Craig Wallace’s well-struck straight drive for four brought up the 300 before he departed for a 14-ball 20.
Afghanistan began their reply briskly but there was an early breakthrough when skipper Coetzer made a brilliant catch running back at mid-on to dismiss Hazratullah Zazai with the score on 28.
Mohammad Shahzad and Shah rebuilt to 121 before the second wicket fell, another superb catch doing the job, this time from Wallace coming in from the ropes to dive and take it low to see Shahzad depart for a well-crafted 55. But Shah was ticking things along nicely and reached his brilliant hundred with a single.
Sole finally got him for 113, Berrington taking a low catch, before the late tension unfolded in the gathering gloom.