Afghanistan won their first match in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup as they defeated Scotland by 1 wicket with 3 balls remaining. The match was so intense and interesting that cricket fans all over the world tuned in to their TV sets to watch the match. The match trend #AFGvSCO became the no. 1 twitter trend worldwide for several hours during and after the match. Even the star player of the match i.e. Shenwari became one of the top twitter trends worldwide. Today’s match was historic on many fronts. Not only Afghanistan won their first ever ICC World Cup match but their performance in the match was also a reflection of the perseverance that the team and the players have been going through these all these years in spite of all adversities.
Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi won the toss and elected to field first. After losing a couple of early wickets, Scotland provided some resistance. However, Afghanistan bowlers led by Shapoor Zadran (4 wickets for 38 runs in 10 overs) and Dawlat Zadran (3 wickets for 29 runs in 10 overs) kept taking wickets at regular intervals and restricted Scotland to 210 runs in 50 overs. Matt Machan, Majid Haq, Alaisdar Evans, Kyle Koetzer and Richie Berrington were the top run scorers for Scotland with scores of 31 runs, 31 runs, 28 runs, 25 runs and 25 runs respectively. Hamid Hassan, Gulbadin Naib and Mohammad Nabi were the other wicket takers for Afghanistan and scalped each wicket each.
Afghanistan opener Javed Ahmadi (51 runs off 51 balls) provided a solid start to the Afghanistan innings. However, a couple of wickets fell on the other end after which the star of today’s match i.e. Samiullah Shenwari came to the crease. Javed Ahmadi departed when the scoreline was 85 runs for 3 wickets. And this resulted in a sudden collapse of the Afghanistan middle order as they were reduced to 97 runs for 7 wickets and defeat almost seemed imminent. But Samiullah Shenwari led an extraordinary fightback and resilience as he scored 96 runs off 147 balls. Shenwari missed out on his century by only 4 runs and departed at 46.5 overs with Afghanistan at 192 runs for 9 wickets. Afghanistan needed 20 runs in 19 balls at that time with only the last batting pair on the crease. But Hamid Hassan (15 runs off 39 balls) and Shapoor Zadran (12 runs off 10 balls) kept their head cool and reached the target in style as they scored 211 runs with 3 balls still remaining. Richie Berrington took 4 wickets for Scotland while Josh Davey and Alaisdar Evans chimed in with 2 each.
Afghanistan Cricket Team has been growing consistently through this ICC Cricket World Cup. They started the World Cup with a humiliating 105 runs defeat against Bangladesh. Then they gave a tough fight to Sri Lanka in their next match. And today they finally won their first match in the ICC Cricket World Cup. The team must now work hard and keep the momentum going in their next matches. They are now ranked at 4th position in Pool A ahead of established teams like England and Sri Lanka. Each “Pool” would have four teams moving in to the quarter finals of the 2015 ICC World Cup. The team has already achieved a cult status with fans all over the world. And if they remain consistent in the next few matches, they could rewrite the pages of history and achieve the impossible. So, hope for the best and best of luck to the team.