Afghanistan appeared unperturbed by their uncertain future in international cricket as Mohammad Nabi’s men dished out a 130-run shellacking to Scotland in Group II at the Twenty20 World Cup on Monday (October 25).
The governing International Cricket Council (ICC) will meet next month to determine the game’s future in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime.
Cricket Australia (CA) has already threatened to scrap next month’s one-off test against Afghanistan if the government in Kabul does not allow women to play the sport.
None of that controversy seemed to affect Afghanistan as their muscular top order fired them to an imposing 190-4 in their opening Super 12 stage match.
Spin duo Mujeeb Ur Rahman (5-20) and Rashid Khan (4-9) then combined to demolish Scotland for 60 in 10.2 overs to maintain Afghanistan’s 100% victory record against them in this format.
The Afghan openers vindicated Nabi’s decision to bat first after winning the toss at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Hazratullah Zazai, who made 44, and Mohammad Shahzad (22) got them off to a flier with a 54-run stand and Afghanistan’s batsmen never took their foot off the pedal after that.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz blasted four sixes in his 46 but, like Zazai, fell short of his half-century.
Najibullah Zadran could not be denied his fifty though and the left-hander smashed 59 before falling to the final delivery of the innings.
Afghanistan’s batsmen smashed a combined 11 sixes, several landing on the roof of the stadium, much to the delight of the smattering of Afghan fans in the stands.
(Production: Kurt Michael Hall)