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ICC T20: Mujeeb, Rashid spin Afghanistan to victory

Afghanistan ran riot at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday night, winning their first game of the Group Stages by 130 runs against Scotland.

Afghanistan bundled out Scotland for only 60 runs after scoring 190/4 in the first half of the contest.

Mujeeb and Rashid too much to handle for Scotland

Eight overs of Mujeeb ur Rehman and Rashid Khan will be tough for any opposition Afghanistan will face in the tournament.

The mystery spinners gave a glimpse of their capabilities tonight, claiming nine of 10 wickets.

Mujeeb bagged the Man of the Match award for his 5/20 while Rashid claimed 4/9 in only 14 deliveries (2.2 overs).

This goes to show how the tracks in the UAE have been a tad supportive of spinners.

Top-order clicks for Afghanistan

Afghanistan batters were having a dream night in Sharjah.

Hazratullah Zazai scored 44, while his opening partner Mohammad Shahzad recorded a fiery 22-run knock before Safyaan Sharif dismissed him.

Rahmatullah Gurbaz scored 46 while Najibullah Zadran top-scored with his 34-ball 59.

Mohammad Nabi struck two fours in his 4-ball 11* to make the most of the final deliveries.

“This was our plan, to bat first and put a big score,” Nabi said.

“The way our openers started really well, finished the powerplay with a good score and then Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Najibullah Zadran rotated the strike really well.”

Afghanistan now sit pretty at the top of Group B with a net run rate of +6.50. Pakistan are second with two points as well.

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.

Match preview – NZ vs Pakistan

New Zealand will meet in-form Pakistan at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday night. The game will commence at 7:30 pm (IST).

Best probable performers

Rizwan

Mohammad Rizwan is the only man in world cricket who has overshadowed Babar Azam’s stunning performances, and it takes something special to do that to the Pakistan captain.

Rizwan justified his opening position with a match-winning 79* against India on Sunday night, top-scoring in the contest.

He has been the highest run-getter in the world in T20Is in 2021.

There seems to be nothing stopping the Pakistan wicket-keeper.

New Zealand need to get to come into the game with a plan against Rizwan to avoid a rough powerplay.

Shaheen Afridi

There are barely any left-arm pacers who can bring the ball back into a right-handed batsman better than Shaheen Shah Afridi.

The tall seamer is in red-hot form across all formats for the Men in Green for a long time.

He has had a fantastic Pakistan Super League as well.

His three-wicket haul against India will have him brimming with confidence against the Kiwis.

Match prediction

There’s no doubt that Pakistan are bearing the favorites’ tag for the Tuesday showdown.

They have already have one game of the World Cup, while New Zealand are yet to make their mark.

The Kiwis have, however, shown over the years that they are a well-rounded unit that are brilliant in all departments.

Trent Boult and Tim Southee cover their bowling well and Devon Conway has been a real star in the making with the bat.

Kane Williamson’s men will have to play at their best to give a tough time to the Men in Green.

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