Matthew Cross’s century helped Scotland beat UAE by 73 runs in their Super Six encounter at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
Scotland managed to rack up a massive total of 322 for 6 thanks to Cross’s knock that was supported by Calum MacLeod’s half-century. In response, UAE were bowled out for 249 in 47.4 overs with Muhammad Usman and Ahmed Raza scoring half-centuries in vain.
Batting first, Cross put on a 68-run opening partnership with Kyle Coetzer, the captain who struck 43 off 41 balls and was dismissed in the 14th over. The UAE bowlers were then blown away by the 161-run partnership between Cross and MacLeod (78) that allowed Scotland to dominate for long. When Zaroor Khan finally dismissed MacLeod, Scotland were 229 for 2 and well on their way to a highly competitive total.
Cross’s dismissal came three overs later with the opener scoring 114 off 135 balls, including five fours and four sixes. George Munsey (30 off 14 balls) and Richie Berrington (an unbeaten 37 off 21 balls) helped Scotland cross the 300-run mark and beyond. Rohan Mustafa picked up 4 for 56.
UAE began their chase with a solid 62-run opening partnership between Mustafa (32) and Ashfaq Ahmed (30) before Christopher Sole dismissed both openers in his consecutive overs. Scotland capitalised on those breakthroughs and quickly reduced UAE to 93 for 5 in 13.4 overs, needing 230 runs.
Mohammad Boota stuck around for 16 balls to help Usman make a concerted effort at the chase but it was the century partnership between Raza and Usman that provided UAE with a sliver of hope. Usman’s knock of 80 came in 91 balls with seven fours and two sixes while Raza scored 50 off 86 balls with four boundaries.
Usman’s dismissal reduced the scoring rate drastically and Raza’s dismissal three overs later sounded the death knell for UAE.
Sole finished with figures of 4 for 68 in eight overs while Brad Wheal and Safyaan Sharif picked up two wickets each. UAE, who can gain a maximum of four points, are out of the reckoning to qualify for the World Cup.
Afghanistan spinners, led by Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s 3 for 33, restricted Windies to 197 for 8 before Rahmat Shah’s 68 helped them chase the target with three wickets and 14 balls to spare.
Mujeeb provided Afghanistan with an early breakthrough, bowling Chris Gayle (1) with a googly from around the wicket after Jason Holder opted to bat. Evin Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer added 34 for the second wicket before Mohammad Nabi trapped Hetmyer leg-before for 15. When Lewis was run out for 27, courtesy a brilliant piece of fielding from Najibullah Zadran, Windies were left struggling at 53 for 3 in 13 overs.
Marlon Samuels and Shai Hope steadied the innings with a 55 run stand for the fourth wicket before Nabi (2 for 43) struck back with Samuels’s wicket. Samuels batted for 64 balls for his 36, hitting two fours. Hope (43) and Holder (28) added another 50 runs, taking the side past 150. Both the batsmen fell in identical fashion – caught at long on off Mujeeb – while trying to provide the much-needed impetus. Rovman Powell and Carlos Brathwaite fell in successive overs and it was only due to the efforts of Ashley Nurse (10 not out) and Keemo Paul (16 not out) that Windies could reach close to 200.
Chasing the paltry target, Mohammad Shahzad and Javed Ahmadi fell cheaply, leaving Afghanistan 17 for 2. However, Rahmat held one end, adding 66 with Samiullah Shenwari (27) for the third wicket and 49 with Mohammad Nabi (31) for the fourth.
Afghanistan were cruising when Nurse dismissed Rahmat, with 46 still needed from 57 balls with five wickets in hand. Najibullah (19) and Gulbadin Naib (10) took the side closer to the target before Rashid Khan and Sharafuddin Ashraf knocked off the winning runs.