The first round of World Cup Qualifiers were played today, with Ireland, the UAE, Zimbabwe, and Scotland all winning their opening matches.
Afghanistan 255 ao (50 overs): Nabi 92, N Zadran 67; Wheal 3-36, 3-42 Berrington
Scotland 256-3 (47.2 overs): MacLeod 157*, Berrington 67; M Zadran 2-47
Scotland win by 7 wickets
Scotland comfortably saw off Afghanistan in their opening World Cup Qualifying match, with Calum MacLeod hitting an unbeaten 157 off 146 balls, as Scotland chased 256 with 16 balls to spare. Kyle Coetzer’s side bowled first and got off to a good start, with Brad Wheal removing Afghanistan’s opener Janat for a four ball duck. With Afghanistan 71-4, Mohammad Nabi (92) and Najibullah Zadran (67) steadied the ship and put on a 149-run partnership before Wheal had Zadran caught by Michael Leask. The very next ball Nabi was run out by George Munsey.
Afghanistan ended on 255 all out, and got off to a bright start with the ball. 16-year-old Mujeeb Zadran removed Kyle Coetzer (2) and Matthew Cross (18) to leave the Scots reeling at 21-2. This, however was as good as it got for the Afghans. MacLeod was joined by Richie Berrington (67), and the pair shared a Scottish record 208-run partnership. MacLeod bought up his 100 with a sweep that went to the boundary, one of 24 boundaries (23 fours & 1 six) that he hit. Rashid Khan, the number 1 ranked ODI bowler in the world was no match for the Scottish duo, as he went for 68 runs off of his 9 overs. Khan did pick up the wicket of Berrington LBW, but by then the damage was done and MacLeod and Munsey (10*) saw the underdogs home to record a fine win over a Test nation.
Scotland face Hong Kong on Tuesday, whilst Afghanistan go into their game against Zimbabwe under added pressure due to Scotland’s excellent victory.
Zimbabwe 380-6 (50 overs): Raza 123, Taylor 100; Regmi 2-69, Kami 2-82
Nepal 264-8 (50 overs): Vesawkar 52, Sheikh 50; Raza 3-48, Vitori 2-46
Zimbabwe win by 116 runs
Elsewhere in Group B, Zimbabwe dispatched Nepal, beating them by 116 runs. The Zimbabweans batted first and set a daunting target of 380, with Sikander Raza scoring 123, and Brendan Taylor 100. The openers, Cephas Zhuwao (41), and Solomon Mire (52), both went at a strike rate of over 100, setting the platform for a mammoth score. Raza joined Taylor at the crease with the score at 200-4, and swiftly went about taking the Nepalese bowling attack apart. His 123 came off just 66 balls and included 9 maximums. Basant Regmi was the pick of the bowlers, picking up 2 wickets off of his 10 overs, but still went for 69 runs.
In response, Nepal found themselves 9-1 when opener Dilip Nath (2) was bowled by Tendai Chatara, and despite six batsmen all scoring over 20, only two of them went on to score 50 or more, with Sharad Vesawkar top scoring with 52. The Zimbabwean bowlers proved too good for the Associate nation’s batting line up, as wickets kept falling at regular intervals. Raza picked up 3 wickets to compliment is batting performance, and Brian Vitori bagging 2.
Zimbabwe will play against Afghanistan on Tuesday, and Nepal do not feature in Round 2 as Hong Kong play their first game against Scotland.
Ireland 268-7 (50 overs): Balbirnie 68, N O’Brien 49; van der Gugten 3-59
Netherlands 149 ao (32.2 overs): van der Gugten; Murtagh 3-28, Rankin 2-19
Ireland win by 93 runs (DL)
Andrew Balbirnie’s 68 helped Ireland see off the Netherlands, despite a good bowling performance from Timm van der Gugten (3-59). William Porterfield (47) and Niall O’Brien (49) also provided valuable contributions as Ireland defended their score of 268 in this rain affected game. With the ball the wickets were shared equally around the attack, with Tim Murtagh claiming 3; Barry McCarthy, Boyd Rankin, and Kevin O’Brien all picking up 2. The best resistance from the Netherlands came from van der Gugten (33) and keeper Scott Edwards (26), but their innings never really got going as the experienced Irish bowling attack was too skilful for the Dutch.
Ireland will face Papua New Guinea in Round 2 on Tuesday, hoping to make it two wins from two, whilst the Netherlands sit out the round as the West Indies are introduced.
UAE 221 ao (49.4 overs): Mustafa 95, Ashfaq 50; Vanua 4-39, Nao 2-42
Papua New Guinea 113 ao (25.5 overs): Amini 24; Naveed 5-28, Haider 2-21
UAE win by 56 runs (DL)
The UAE started their campaign with a win over Papua New Guinea (PNG) in another rain affected game. Their captain Rohan Mustafa led the way with 95 at the top of the order, and was only supported by fellow opener, Ashfaq Ahmed (50). Other than these two, the best UAE batsman were Adnan Mufti, and Mohammad Usman, who both scored 16. Norman Vanua led the way with the ball, finishing with figures of 4-42.
PNG’s top order couldn’t cope with Mohammad Naveed, who tore through the PNG top order, reducing them to 23-4 after 4.6 overs. There was no coming back from this for PNG, as Naveed picked up his first 5fer in ODI’s and they were skittled for just 113.
Both sides are in action on Tuesday, with PNG facing up against Ireland, and the UAE taking on the might of the West Indies.
*West Indies and Hong Kong did not feature in Round 1, so do not appear on the tables.
Round 2 Fixtures, Tuesday 6 March
Group A: PNG v Ireland, West Indies v UAE
Group B: Zimbabwe v Afghanistan, Scotland v Hong Kong