CWC Greatest Moments – World Cup History – Afghanistan’s greatest win from an improbable situation in World Cup 2015

Afghanistan is one team in the world of cricket that everyone loves to watch and wants them to win. People love the players’ story about how they have managed to come this far in such a short time and that too from a war-stricken country. The fighting spirit in them is what makes the team so laudable. They showed this fighting spirit in the best possible way when they got their first ever World Cup win against Scotland from a near impossible situation in 2015.

Afghanistan, having failed to qualify for the 2011 World Cup worked really hard to qualify for the next edition. The core of the team did not change much and hence the team had experience of playing together. In the six matches they were supposed to play in 2015 World Cup, the only realistic chance of winning a match was against Scotland.

Afghanistan won the toss and decided to bowl first. The Afghan bowlers bowled exceptionally well to leave the Scots at a dismal score of 144/8. Shapoor Zadran and Dawlat Zadran, with bowling figures of (4/38) and (3/29) respectively, were the architects in chief for this batting collapse. However, a ninth-wicket partnership of 62 runs between Majid Haq and Alasdair Evans took Scotland to a score above 200. For a team from the subcontinent on a seam-friendly pitch, a 200+ score was always going to be tough.

Afghanistan started well with 85 runs on board with just 3 wickets gone but then a spectacular middle-order collapse led to the scorecard reading 97/7. Javed Ahmadi, the Afghan opening batsman scored a run-a-ball 51 but his search for quick runs became the reason for his dismissal, which later led to a batting collapse.

Samiullah Shenwari of Afghanistan bats during the 2015 ICC World Cup match between Afghanistan and Scotland at University Oval on February 26, 2015 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Rob Jefferies-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)

Just after the loss of Ahmadi, Majid Haq dropped Samiullah Shenwari in the slips off the very next ball. This dropped catch changed the game in an unimaginable way. Shenwari rebuilt the innings and asked the tail-end batsmen to stick around with him. He took the game as deep as possible and started hitting some big shots only in the last 10 overs. Shenwari took the team close to 200, scoring 96 runs of 147 balls. He lost his wicket trying to hit the last few runs quickly, as he was running out of partners.

With 19 runs required of 18 balls and with just one wicket in hand, Afghanistan were clearly the underdogs in this contest. Shapoor Zadran who was the star with the ball made sure that Shenwari’s gutsy performance did not go in vain. Zadran and Hamid Hasan took a few singles and took it deep. In the penultimate over, Scotland’s best bowler in the match, Richie Berrington bowled a wide on the last ball and had to ball an additional ball. That additional ball was at Zadran’s pads and he flicked it nonchalantly to the square-leg boundary.

The nail-biting finish had another twist when Scotland could not run out Zadran on the second delivery of the last over, when he was clearly out of the crease. On the very next delivery, Zadran flicked another low-full-toss to the boundary to take Afghanistan to their first ever World Cup victory, leading to wild celebrations all around the stadium.

This performance showed the world what these players had it in them. This historic win gave this side a belief that they belong on the big stage. That belief led them to getting a test status in just three years of inception and now they are playing their second world cup in 2019 after winning a tough qualifying tournament.

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