Scotland were dumped out of the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 as they lost their second match from two in the preliminary group stages, falling to Zimbabwe by 11 runs in Nagpur, India, on Thursday.
Sean Williams' half century was the key contribution for Zimbabwe as they posted 147 from their 20 overs, but Scotland were still very much in the game at the halfway stage. An opening collapse did not help the Scots, and four wickets from the excellent Wellington Masakadza proved to be vital.
Later on in the day, Afghanistan made it two wins from two, securing a comfortable six-wicket win over Hong Kong, chasing down a target of 117 with time to spare.
Here's how the updated group standings look, along with the remaining schedule for the tournament:
|Match 7||Group A||Friday, Mar 11||9:30 a.m.||Netherlands vs. Oman|
|Match 8||Group A||Friday, Mar 11||2 p.m.||Bangladesh vs. Ireland|
|Match 9||Group B||Saturday, Mar 12||9:30 a.m.||Zimbabwe vs. Afghanistan|
|Match 10||Group B||Saturday, Mar 12||2 p.m.||Scotland vs. Hong Kong|
|Match 11||Group A||Sunday, Mar 13||9:30 a.m.||Netherlands vs. Ireland|
|Match 12||Group A||Sunday, Mar 13||2 p.m.||Bangladesh vs. Oman|
|Match 13||Group 2||Tuesday, Mar 15||2 p.m.||New Zealand vs. India|
|Match 14||Group 2||Wednesday, Mar 16||9:30 a.m.||Pakistan vs. A1|
|Match 15||Group 1||Wednesday, Mar 16||2 p.m.||West Indies vs. England|
|Match 16||Group 1||Thursday, Mar 17||2 p.m.||Sri Lanka vs. B1|
|Match 17||Group 2||Friday, Mar 18||9:30 a.m.||Australia vs. New Zealand|
|Match 18||Group 1||Friday, Mar 18||2 p.m.||South Africa vs. England|
|Match 19||Group 2||Saturday, Mar 19||2 p.m.||India vs. Pakistan|
|Match 20||Group 1||Sunday, Mar 20||9:30 a.m.||South Africa vs. B1|
|Match 21||Group 1||Sunday, Mar 20||2 p.m.||Sri Lanka vs. West Indies|
|Match 22||Group 2||Monday, Mar 21||2 p.m.||Australia vs. A1|
|Match 23||Group 2||Tuesday, Mar 22||2 p.m.||New Zealand vs. Pakistan|
|Match 24||Group 1||Wednesday, Mar 23||9:30 a.m.||England vs. B1|
|Match 25||Group 2||Wednesday, Mar 23||2 p.m.||India vs. A1|
|Match 26||Group 2||Friday, Mar 25||9:30 a.m.||Pakistan vs. Australia|
|Match 27||Group 1||Friday, Mar 25||2 p.m.||South Africa vs. West Indies|
|Match 28||Group 2||Saturday, Mar 26||9:30 a.m.||A1 vs. New Zealand|
|Match 29||Group 1||Saturday, Mar 26||2 p.m.||Sri Lanka vs. England|
|Match 30||Group 1||Sunday, Mar 27||9:30 a.m.||B1 vs. West Indies|
|Match 31||Group 2||Sunday, Mar 27||2 p.m.||India vs. Australia|
|Match 32||Group 1||Monday, Mar 28||2 p.m.||South Africa vs. Sri Lanka|
|Semi-Final 1||Knockout||Wednesday, Mar 30||1:30 p.m.||TBD vs. TBD|
|Semi-Final 2||Knockout||Thursday, Mar 31||1:30 p.m.||TBD vs. TBD|
|Final||Knockout||Sunday, Apr 3||1:30 p.m.||TBD vs. TBD|
Afghanistan vs. Hong Kong
Afghanistan 119 for 4 (Shahzad 41, Campbell 2-28 ) beat Hong Kong 116 for 6 (Rath 28, Nabi 4-20) by six wickets.
Click here for full scorecard.
After winning the toss Hong Kong had a chance to put some pressure on Afghanistan, although their batting effort rarely got going.
The opening partnership went pretty well for the minnows, with Jamie Atkinson and Ryan Campbell putting on 40 runs in the first 34 balls. But they didn’t seem to have the conviction in their play to push on from this platform, allowing Afghanistan to suffocate the scoring.
After Rashid Khan bowled Atkinson, it was Mohammad Nabi who came to the fore, giving the Hong Kong batsmen problems with his devilish spin bowling.
Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar paid tribute to the Afghanistan man, has he began to weave his magic:
Mohammed Nabi the off spinner of Afghanistan is a terrific bowler. Not freakish, but still a game changer in T20 cricket. #ICCWT20— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) March 10, 2016
Indeed, four of the next five batsmen out were wickets from Nabi, who not only sent Hong Kong players packing, but restricted the scoring too; he finished with figures of 4 for 20.
As a whole, that’s something Afghanistan did very well, with Gulbain Naib the only bowler to finish with an economy rate greater than a run-a-ball come the end of the 20 overs. Those skills restricted the Hong Kong players, with a battling 28 from Anshuman Rath eventually hauling the team to a modest score of 116.
While Hong Kong panicked at the start of their innings when scoring slowed on a gripping wicket, Afghanistan, with the excellent Mohammad Shahzad leading the way, were much more composed.
HoldingWilleyCricket paid tribute to the intelligence with which they began their chase, as Shahzad and Noor Ali Zadran put on a fine 70-run opening stand:
It was a partnership which put Afghanistan on the brink of victory and with both teams seemingly resigned to the result, the final stages of the match were something of a non-event.
Afghanistan’s players seemed to lose their focus as a result, with Shahzad caught out for 41. Hong Kong went on to capture another trio of wickets, although it was too little too late, as the chase was completed with two overs left to spare.
With a perfect record so far, Afghanistan will be hopeful of booking their place in the main draw of this competition; they will face fellow unbeaten side Zimbabwe in what's set to be a thrilling final group match.
Zimbabwe vs. Scotland
Zimbabwe 147 for 7 (Williams 53, Chigumbura 20) beat Scotland 136 all out (Berrington 36, W. Masakadza 4-28) by 11 runs.
Click here for full scorecard.
Having won the toss and opted to bat, openers Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza put on 17 in 19 balls before calamity struck.
For the second time in as many matches, Masakadza was run out, this time after the opening pair collided in the middle of the track, per ESPN Cricinfo:
Sibanda was gone soon after—caught by Matt Machan off Alasdair Evans' bowling—having scored just four from 12 balls.
Williams strode to the crease, and it was his innings that really made the difference for the African side.
He did not produce any real fireworks but kept the scoreboard ticking over at a decent rate as Richmond Mutumbami, Sikandar Raza and Malcolm Waller came and went.
He reached his 50 from 31 balls, to the delight of Zimbabwe assistant coach Makhaya Ntini, per ESPN Cricinfo's Firdose Moonda:
Though Williams fell soon after reaching his half-century, Elton Chigumbura again made some useful runs at the end of the innings, smashing 20 from 17 balls before being caught on the last delivery of the innings.
It left Scotland needing to chase down 148 in their 20 overs to stay in the tournament.
They made a shocking start, losing their top four all for single-figure scores, Kyle Coetzer the last of them to go in just the fourth over—thanks to a brilliant catch from Raza, per the Cricket Paper:
Michael Leask also fell cheaply before Richie Berrington and captain Preston Mommsen finally showed some fight.
The pair put on 51 together for the sixth wicket to give Scotland a sniff of victory, and some late big-hitting from Josh Davey set up a tight finish.
The Scots needed 24 runs from the last two overs, but Davy holed out trying to go big on the leg-side to effectively end the contest with seven balls and a wicket remaining.
A slower delivery saw Evans' stumps clattered by Donald Tiripano with two balls left, and Zimbabwe claimed their second victory from two in the tournament.