Afghanistan v Scotland, World T20 preview - Match 2
The Scots haven’t yet tasted T20I success against the Afghans, but the team will bank on an attacking mindset to change that
07 March 2016 21:42
Afghanistan certainly has all the ingredients to beat Scotland and this contest should be a keenly fought one.
Mohammad Shahzad, the wicketkeeper who has become the team’s poster boy since slamming a rapid 118 against Zimbabwe, and Dawlat Zadran, the paceman, will provide the thrust in the batting and bowling arsenals. The arrival of Shapoor Zadran and Hamid Hassan will also strengthen the bowling considerably.
Asghar Stanikzai, the Afghanistan skipper, also has Rashid Khan, the 17-year-old legspinner, to turn to on pitches which will be expected to aid spinners. Stanikzai also got among the runs in the Asia Cup qualifiers last month, and his return to form will provide stability in the middle order.
As far as Scotland is concerned, this is easily among the best squads it has fielded in the three times it has qualified for the ICC World T20. The attack-when-in-doubt attitude has not always paid off, but it has made Scotland an exciting team to watch. The reasons for that approach are Preston Mommsen, the skipper, and Grant Bradburn, the former New Zealand player who is now the Scotland coach. The two have gelled together well.
Kyle Coetzer will be the one who lays the foundation at the top, followed by Matt Machan, Matthew Cross and then Mommsen. This clever mix of aggression and watchfulness in the batting department helped Scotland win four games on the trot to make it to the final of the ICC World T20 Qualifiers last year, of which it was a joint winner alongside the Netherlands due to a rained out final.
Scotland will rely on Mark Watt's left-arm spin, with Michael Leask and Con de Lange to share the load of the spin department. It has the the wherewithal to not just challenge, but topple Afghanistan, in what is largely a contest between evenly matched sides.
Afghanistan: Asghar Stanikzai (captain), Noor Ali Zadran, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Usman Ghani, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Sadiq, Shafiqullah, Rashid Khan, Amir Hamza, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Samiullah Shenwari, Najibullah Zadran, Hamid Hassan.
Scotland: Preston Mommsen (captain), Kyle Coetzer, Richie Berrington, Matthew Cross (wk), Josh Davey, Con de Lange, Alasdair Evans, Michael Leask, Matt Machan, Calum MacLeod, Gavin Maine, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Rob Taylor, Mark Watt.