Rashid Khan

RASHID STRIKES AGAIN: Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan, background, celebrates the wicket of Scotland’s Brad Wheal, during the Twenty20 World Cup match in Sharjah, UAE, yesterday. —Photo: AP

Off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman and leg-spinner Rashid Khan bowled Scotland out for 60 as Afghanistan started the T20 World Cup with a massive 130-run victory yesterday.

Mujeeb claimed three wickets in an over to finish with five for 20, while Rashid (four for nine) ran through the tail quickly to dismiss Scotland in just 10.2 overs and raise Afghanistan’s biggest win in a T20.

Afghanistan had earlier posted a daunting total of 190 for five in their opening Group Two match after skipper Mohammad Nabi won the toss and elected to bat.

“This was our plan, to bat first and put a big score,” Nabi said with a broad smile at the presentation ceremony. “Our openers started really well and finished the powerplay with a good score. … Everyone knows Rashid and Mujeeb are among the best (bowlers) in the world.”

All of Afghanistan’s top-order batsmen were amongst the runs and hit big sixes with Najibullah Zadran leading the way by scoring 59 off 34 balls.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz (46) smashed four sixes while opening batsman Hazratullah Zazai (44) hit three sixes and three fours to set the tone for a big total.

Scotland had upset Bangladesh in the qualifiers and advanced with convincing victories over first-timers Papua New Guinea and co-hosts Oman.

Opener George Munsey (25) started the run-chase in style by reverse sweeping offspinner Nabi for a six and a four in the first over as they raced to 27 without loss in three overs.

But the wheels came off quickly in the fourth over when Mujeeb grabbed three wickets off five deliveries.

Mujeeb had Coetzer clean bowled and followed it up by trapping Calum MacLeod lbw on the backfoot off the next ball. Richie Berrington was out soon after when Mujeeb had him leg before wicket -- again on the backfoot.

Recalled wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad then took a stunning diving catch to his right to dismiss Matthew Cross off fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq before Mujeeb made it 37 for five in no time when he rattled Munsey’s stump in his next over.

Rashid resigned from the captaincy before the tournament, saying he had not been consulted on the team selection. But the leg-spinner bemused Scotland’s tailenders in a 14-ball spell by claiming four wickets to wrap up big win.

“We have been playing some good cricket to get here, but sometimes things don’t go to plan,” Scotland skipper Kyle Coetzer said. “We have to keep moving forward.”

Pakistan, who routed archrival India by ten wickets on Sunday, and Namibia are the other teams in the same group.

Summarised scores:

Afghanistan 190-4, 20 overs (Najibullah Zadran 59, Rahmanullah Gurbaz 46; Safyaan Sharif 2/33, Mark Watt 1/23)

vs Scotland 60 all out, 10.2 overs (George Munsey 25; Chris Greaves 12; Mujeeb Ur Rahman 5/20, Rashid Khan 4/9)

Player of the Match: Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan)

—Afghanistan won by 130 runs.


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