Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Najibullah Zadran added 87 for the third wicket before Rashid Khan bagged 4 for 9
Afghanistan 190 for 4 (Najibullah 59, Gurbaz 46, Sharif 2-33) beat Scotland 60 (Munsey 25, Mujeeb 5-20, Rashid 4-9) by 130 runs
A power-packed powerplay
Coming into this match, Shahzad had scored 309 runs in six T20Is against Scotland at an average of 51.50 and a strike rate of 148.55. In four of those games, he was the Player of the Match.
Shahzad was playing his first game for Afghanistan since June 2019, but it didn’t seem to matter as he started in his typical aggressive manner: smashing the first ball he faced, from offspinner Michael Leask, over long-off for a six.
Two balls later, Zazai targeted the deep-midwicket region for his first six. That was the shorter side of the ground as well. But soon the dimensions stopped mattering. In the fifth over, Zazai took on the longer boundary and smashed Brad Wheal for a 101-metre six.
Shahzad fell to Safyaan Sharif for a 15-ball 22 on the penultimate ball of the next over, but the onslaught from the openers meant Afghanistan ended the powerplay on 55 for 1, the joint-most by a team in this World Cup.
After the powerplay, Zazai hit only one boundary – a six off Chris Greaves – before Mark Watt bowled him with a 107kph yorker.
Gurbaz, meanwhile, took seven balls to open his account. At one point, he was on 15 off 20 balls and it started looking like Scotland could pull things back.
That wasn’t to be the case though as Zadran kept founding boundaries at regular intervals. The hundred came up for Afghanistan in the 13th over. Soon Gurbaz too found his touch. After moving to 23 off 27, he helicoptered Josh Davey over deep-midwicket before launching Wheal for two more sixes in the 17th over.
Watt, who had conceded only ten from his first three overs, bore the brunt too, with Zadran hitting him for a four and a six in a 13-run over. Gurbaz fell for 46 but Zadran didn’t miss out on the half-century, bringing up the milestone off 30 balls and helping his side to a daunting total.
Mujeeb rocks Scotland’s chase
George Munsey started Scotland’s chase with a reverse-swept four followed by a reverse-swept six off Nabi in the first over. He tried the same shot against Mujeeb in the next over, but the bowler’s pace didn’t allow him to connect his attempts.
Kyle Coetzer hit two fours off Naveen-ul-Haq to take the side to 27 for no loss after three overs. That was the last time anything went Scotland’s way as Mujeeb picked up three wickets – all off googlies – in one over.
Coetzer was the first to go, bowled through the gate. Calum MacLeod lasted just one ball and was lbw. Richie Berrington survived the hat-trick ball but lasted only two more deliveries as Mujeeb snared him lbw on the last ball of the over.
Mujeeb completes five-for, Rashid cleans up the tail
From the other end, Naveen had Matthew Cross caught behind, Shahzad diving full-stretch to his right to take the catch.
Mujeeb then rattled Munsey’s stumps from around the wicket to leave Scotland 36 for 5, with Rashid still to come into the attack.
Rashid struck with his third ball, this time Leask failing to read the googly and being lbw. In the next over, Mujeeb completed his five-for by bowling Watt with a carrom ball before Rashid polished off the tail.
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo