DUNEDIN, New Zealand: Scotland achieved their highest ever World Cup score on Thursday but still left Afghanistan chasing a modest 211 for victory.
The Scots were all out for 210 off the final ball of their allotted 50 overs at Dunedin’s University Oval after losing the toss and being sent into bat in their Pool A clash.
Both of the minnow nations are chasing a maiden victory at the World Cup.
Afghanistan’s decision to bowl first after winning the toss paid early dividends on a green wicket but a 62-run ninth-wicket stand took Scotland past 200 for the first time in three World Cup campaigns.
Their previous best was 186 against South Africa at the 2007 tournament.
Several of Scotland’s batsmen made starts but could not convert them in the face of a spirited Afghan bowling effort.
Left-arm paceman Shapoor Zadran led the Afghan attack with four for 38.
While Scotland set a relatively low total, they will be hoping for a repeat of their last performance against Afghanistan in January, when they skittled them out for just 63.
Dawlat Zadrad, who took three for 29, had the new ball swinging viciously and struck in the second over to dismiss Calum MacLeod for a duck.
The luckless MacLeod hit the ball straight to Najibullah Zadran at backward point, continuing a poor run at the tournament that has seen him score four runs in three innings.
Hamid Hassan, the bandanna wearing paceman who bases his look on Sylvester Stallone’s “Rambo”, maintained the pressure, trapping Hamish Gardiner lbw for five in the 11th over.
Scotland dangerman Kyle Coetzer (25) followed Gardiner to the pavilion two balls later, clean bowled when he carelessly attempted to swat Dawlat to the boundary.
Skipper Preston Mommsen and Matt Machan combined to steady the innings, bringing up a 53-run partnership off 61 deliveries.
But a slower ball from Mohammad Nabi deceived Machan, who was bowled for 31, with Mommsen (23) gone in the next over when he feathered an edge to wicketkeeper Afsar Zazai.
Zazai then left Scotland reeling at 132 for six when he took a superb diving catch to send Matthew Cross on his way for 15.
With Scotland desperately needing the tail to wag, Majid Haq (31) and Alasdair Evans (28) added valuable runs with their ninth wicket partnership.