Shenwari savours success over Scots

Published: Thursday 26th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Afghanistan batsman Samiullah Shenwari was delighted to play a key role in his side’s first ever World Cup win against fellow associate nation Scotland in Dunedin.

Chasing a victory target of 211, the World Cup debutants appeared set for a third successive defeat after a middle-order collapse left them reeling on 97 for seven, but Shenwari almost single-handedly led the fightback.

He accumulated steadily to bring up a 113-ball half-century but used that as a springboard to kick on and take his side to the brink of victory before falling four runs shy of his hundred after being caught on the boundary.

That left them still 19 runs adrift but last-wicket pair Hamid Hassan and Shapoor Zadran kept lowering the target and, despite a few brief nervy moments, got Afghanistan over the line with three balls and one wicket to spare.

“It was a big pressure because we lost wickets early,” Shenwari said to Sky Sports World Cup.

“I had the responsibility to stay in the wicket until the end. I did my job and I am very happy.

“It was a good win for us in the tournament, to get two points, and we are looking to win more to get into the Super Eights (quarter-finals).”

Afghanistan, who only became an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council in 2001, had lost their opening fixtures to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka but have shown enough spirit in Australia and New Zealand to suggest they will be a match for anyone in their remaining three Pool A fixtures.

However, captain Mohammad Nabi acknowledged they still have a lot to learn. From 85 for two, Afghanistan lost their next five wickets for the addition of 12 runs – a collapse that threatened to prove their undoing.

Nabi said: “The pressure is true in the game. The boys didn’t play well in the batting – there were four or five wickets early.

“But then Shenny batted brilliantly to take the pressure on himself and (bat) until the end.

“It is good to learn about how to handle pressure. It’s good to put two points on the board.”

It was a chastening day for the Scots, whose 210 all out was their highest ever total at a World Cup, eclipsing the 186 for eight they made against South Africa in 2007.

Captain Preston Mommsen deflected accusations his side took their foot off the gas after having their opponents seven wickets down.

“We’re always trying to take wickets,” he said. “I think there are probably one or two things you look back at and you might do differently. But unfortunately it just wasn’t to be.

“We knew what to expect and the type of cricket they played. We knew if we were patient up front, if we got a couple of wickets, that might lead to a few more and that happened. We had them seven down pretty early on, so very disappointed we couldn’t finish it off.”

Published: Thursday 26th February 2015 by The News Editor

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