Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and elected to bat first. The Pakistan captain top-scored for the visitors as he slammed an unbeaten 89 off just 49 balls while Shoaib Malik chipped in with 53 (27). Pakistan ended their innings at 204-4 in 20 overs.
In reply, Scotland’s openers George Munsey and Kyle Coetzer have started in confident fashion after amassing 44 runs from the first four overs of their innings. However, once Hasan Ali removed Munsey, the wheels came of Scotland’s innings. Once leg-spinner Shadab Khan dismissed Richie Berrington and Calum MacLeod, the writing was on the wall for Scotland despite a late mini resurgence.
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Having played under the captaincy of Ashwin at Kings XI Punjab in his maiden stint in the IPL, the Afghan youngster has revealed he intends to use a mystery ball taught to him by the senior India spinner when the two teams meet at Bengaluru.
“I spent a lot of time with Ashwin at the nets and it was really helpful. He told me spots where to bowl. He has also taught me a new ball and I am trying to learn it. It is a carrom ball with an off-spin action,” the teenage spin prodigy told the Press Trust of India in an interview.
The teenager picked up 14 wickets with an outstanding economy-rate in the IPL this year before an injury to his bowling hand cut short his tournament. That IPL stint, Mujeeb believes will hold him in great stead when Afghanistan take on the No1 ranked Indian team.
“I have played high-level cricket already so there is no fear going into the Test. Thanks to the IPL, I know how to handle pressure. I don’t fear playing against any opposition. It used to play on my mind but not anymore,” the youngster stated.
Mujeeb and leg-spinner Rashid Khan are a part of a strong Afghan spin contingent for the historic Test which will be held at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru.
So why is it called a ‘world’ cup? It’s barely a Commonwealth games. With 14 teams, those outside the cricket’s well-established territories at least had the opportunity to show the big boys they can challenge the best in the world.
Gone are the days when ‘minnows’ would be embarrassed by second-string sides of major nations. No rank amateurs here who will be knocked over simply by the reputation of the opposition. Which is why we saw incredible performances like Ireland’s wins over Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup and against England in the 2011 World Cup.
But now we are down to ten teams for the showpiece event next year. Two more than the Champions Trophy and without the newest Test nation – Ireland. As former Scotland captain Preston Mommsen said it perfectly: “I don’t want to call it a World Cup because it isn’t. It is just a tournament with ten teams.”
On Sunday, Scotland defeated the world’s No1 ODI team England by six runs while defending a massive 371 for five. It was Scotland’s first game after they were cruelly denied a spot in next year’s World Cup by rain and poor umpiring in their final qualifier against the West Indies in Harare in March.
Calum MacLeod cracked 140 while Mark Watt picked up 3-55 against the No1 team in the world in Edinburgh. At a time when cricket fans across the world should be getting an opportunity to witness what hungry players from Scotland and other Associate teams can do, those calling the shots have fenced everyone in and made the World Cup a ‘members only’ club instead of a village fair.
World Cup in 2015 included 14 teams for 49 matches over 43 days.— Daniel Brettig (@danbrettig) June 11, 2018
World Cup in 2019 has 10 teams for 48 matches over 46 days.
Key difference? India guaranteed a minimum 9 games in 2019, as opposed to 6 in 2015.
Everything else, including emerging nations, is secondary.
The football World Cup begins on Thursday in Russia. FIFA has accommodated 32 teams in the tournament with two debutants – Panama and Iceland.
Here are some interesting facts about the two teams. The central American country of Panama has a population of 4 million. Iceland has just 340,000. Most big cities in the world have more people than that combined.
Now, they have an opportunity to show 30 other nations from across the globe what they can do. Iceland have done it before. The tiny nation defeated England at Euro 2016 and made it to the quarter-finals where they lost to hosts France.
In the 1950 World Cup, a bunch of semi-professional USA players defeated tournament favourites England. Algeria’s 2-1 win West Germany in the 1982 edition is considered one of the greatest upsets of all time.
But the cricket World Cup seems content as long as there is an India-Pakistan clash early in the tournament and then again in the knockouts which allows the ICC and broadcasters to laugh all the way to the bank.
We now know it’s not about games being competitive because Scotland and Ireland have thrown that argument out of the window. But since TV ratings dictate cricketing schedules and tournament formats, as has become the norm nowadays, none of it really matters.
Cricket’s world will be restricted to 10 teams. Everyone else is welcome to turn on the TV and watch.