The final Group B matches of the ICC World Twenty20 2016 took place on Saturday, as Afghanistan shocked Zimbabwe with an emphatic 59-run victory at Nagpur, India to secure a place in the Super 10s.
The Afghans have looked solid so far, and they moved into Group 1 of the full tournament courtesy of their explosive batting power.
Meanwhile, Scotland won their first ever World T20 match as they beat Hong Kong in a rain-interrupted match.
Here’s a look at the group stage tables, fixtures for Group A and the Super 10, plus a full recap of Saturday’s play.
|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. Afghanistan|
|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. Afghanistan|
|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. Afghanistan|
|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|
Scotland (78/2 from 10 overs) bt. Hong Kong (127/7) by eight wickets
Hong Kong chose to bat first having won the toss, but an excellent all-round effort from Scotland's bowlers prevented them from racking up a significant scoreline.
Ryan Campbell was dismissed for a duck by Gavin Main having faced just four balls, while fellow opener Jamie Atkinson made it to just 13 runs before he was bowled and caught by Josh Davey.
Babar Hayat hit 15 from only 10 balls, but he hit a loose shot straight at Con De Lange at deep mid-wicket as Scotland restricted their opponents well, per ICC:
Mark Chapman steadied the ship and almost hit a half-century, ultimately making 40 runs from 41 balls and helping his side to a respectable scoreline.
Scotland's seven bowlers managed 50 dot balls between them according to the tournament's official website, with Rob Taylor and Richie Berrington the only players not to take a wicket. Matt Machan proved vital as he saw Anshy Rath and Nizakat Khan dismissed for 21 and 17 respectively, stopping the pair from building any momentum.
ICC once again highlighted their prowess with ball in hand:
With three balls remaining the match was interrupted by rain, but Hong Kong were able to finish their innings. Further heavy downpour restricted the Scots to just 10 overs with a target of 76, per Cricket Scotland:
George Munsey and Kyle Coetzer opened the batting for the Scots and the former quickly set about eating into Hong Kong's lead with four fours, ultimately hitting 19 from 11 balls before being dismissed by Nadeem Ahmed.
Coetzer provided a steady presence at the crease and earned the praise of Ireland's Niall John O'Brien:
Really hope the @MeerGoose11 can guide the jocks to a win. Proper player who deserves a win on the world stage more than most.— Niall John O Brien (@niallnobiobrien) March 12, 2016
An impressive cameo from Matthew Cross saw him score runs including two fours and a six before he edged to Aizaz Khan.
Machan secured the win in style as he hit an unbeaten 15 from just four balls, finishing with a six as he lashed the ball over deep mid-wicket.
Scotland may not be moving into the Super 10s, but they finish their campaign with pride.
Afghanistan (186/6) bt. Zimbabwe (127 all out) by 59 runs
Afghanistan won the toss and elected to bat on the slow surface at Nagpur, and they took full advantage of the favourable conditions against Zimbabwe’s underperforming bowling order.
Opener Mohammad Shahzad had endless joy at the crease alongside Noor Ali Zadran, with the former chalking up 11 fours and a six during the powerplay.
He was eventually dismissed for 40 towards the end of the fifth over through a Sean Williams delivery, but it was a dream start for the Afghans.
Zimbabwe did threaten to get a foothold on the match with three quick dismissals, but at 63 for four after eight overs, Afghanistan turned on the style.
Samiullah Shenwari and Mohammad Nabi formed a quite remarkable partnership—slogging away everything the Zimbabwe order were throwing at them.
Shenwari was eventually dismissed with Afghanistan on 161, but the damage was well and truly done. ESPN Cricinfo revealed the pair’s knock was the second highest in the Afghan’s T20 history:
Afghanistan eventually posed an impressive 186 for six, which gave Zimbabwe a mountain to climb—ICC reflected on the mission facing the Zimbabweans:
And it was a mountain they never really looked like scaling. Afghanistan bowlers were cleverly limiting Zimbabwe to singles, with Rashid Khan at the forefront of the assault.
After five overs, it was clear that Zimbabwe weren’t doing enough to win the match. The Cricket Prof showcased the statistics:
Zimbabwe had to take risks, but their decision to hunt boundaries and make risky charges for the opposite crease backfired.
At 65 for five, the batsmen needed a miracle. Author Harsha Bhogle commented on just how impressive Afghanistan were against a talented order:
Makes you wonder how Afghanistan lost to the UAE in the Asia Cup. Almost through now unless there is a Williams/Chigumbura special.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 12, 2016
After more run-outs and sloppy attempts to make runs out of nothing, Zimbabwe’s race was run at 127 all out.
The victory puts Afghanistan into the Super 10 for the first time in their history, and they’ll take to Group 1 alongside Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies and England.
That may seem like a daunting prospect, but the way they performed on Saturday was nothing short of superb. Reproduce such form, and they could take a few Group 1 scalps.