Ma­cleod stars but Scot­land fall just short in the rain

Sec­ond suc­ces­sive ODI ton for home bats­man but Afghanista­n edge vic­tory

The Scotsman - - WEEKEND SPORT - Dun­can Smith At The Grange

Scot­land put up a good fight against tenth- ranked Afghanista­n in their first one- day internatio­nal of the year fall­ing an ag­o­nis­ing two runs short in a seven- wicket de­feat on the Duck­worth- Lewis method af­ter post­ing a com­pet­i­tive to­tal of 325 driven by Calum Ma­cleod’s fine cen­tury.

Afghanista­n were on course head­ing into the last ten overs with wick­ets in hand but, as cloud gath­ered, found them­selves in a po­si­tion where the D/ L method had t he game cl ose. As­ghar Afghan and Hash­mat­ul­lah Shahidi did enough to keep their noses ahead as the rain came then started to pour to bring the game to a pre­ma­ture end af­ter the fifth ball of the 45th over on 269- 3

Af­ter Wed­nes­day’s washout, it saw the Afghans take the two- match se­ries in what was new Scot­land’s new South African coach Shane Burger’s f i rst match i n charge. For Ma­cleod, it was back- to­back ODI cen­turies and a sec­ond suc­ces­sive to­tal above 300 as, re­mark­ably, this was the side’s first of­fi­cial 50- over out­ing since the his­toric win against Eng­land 11 months ago at the same venue. On that day, Ma­cleod blasted an in­cred­i­ble 140 not out but he was dis­missed soon af­ter reach­ing his eighth ODI cen­tury and Rah­mat Shah’s 113 was key for the Afghans.

Burger will now pre­pare his men for the big t wo- match se­ries against for­mer world cham­pi­ons Sri Lanka, which starts next Satur­day.

Af­ter a steady start, Scot­land pro­gressed to 76 be­fore the first wicket when Matthew Cross was caught be­hind for 32 off Gul­badin Naib. Coet­zer was go­ing well and passed 2,000 runs and made his 13th ODI half cen­tury be­fore fi­nally hav­ing to de­part for 79 when he was caught and bowled by Naib with the Scots at 152- 2.

Scot­land had passed 200 by the 39th over, dur­ing which

new bats man Richie B erring­ton scored a max­i­mum with a glo­ri­ous ramp shot off quick Dawlat Zad­ran be­fore fol­low­ing up with a slash­ing bound­ary to bring up the 50 part­ner­ship.

Ma­cleod crunched a thump­ing six to mid- off and then Ber­ring­ton smacked a one bounce four to mid-on two balls later be­fore per­ish­ing next one up as Naib re­cov­ered to clean bowl him and take his third wicket.

That brought the hard- hit­ting Ge­orge Mun­sey in and af­ter a few sighters he cut loose in the 42nd off the bowl­ing of Naib with a run of 4- 6- 6- 4 to start the over, the high­light

be­ing a steepling six that went over the wall into Ar­bore­tum Av­enue and the sec­ond four bring­ing up the 250.

Af­ter Mun­sey had gone for an en­ter­tain­ing cameo of 28 off 13 balls, Ma­cleod reached that eighth ton in slightly hairy fash­ion as Hamid Has­san con­jured a sniff of a caught and bowled chance but there was enough power on the stroke to get him through for the al­limpor­tant sin­gle be­fore he was caught on the square- leg bound­ary to keep his score on 100.

Craig Wal­lace’s well- struck straight drive for four brought up the 300 be­fore he de­parted for a 14- ball 20. Bowlers Sharif

and Tom Sole saw out the in­nings, with Sole caught on the bound­ary off the last ball.

Afghanista­n be­gan t heir re­ply briskly but there was a break­through when skip­per Coet­zer made a bril­liant catch to dis­miss Hazrat­ul­lah Zazai with the score on 28. Mohammad Shahzad and Shah re­built to 121 be­fore the sec­ond wicket fell, an­other su­perb catch do­ing the job, this time from Wal­lace to see Shahzad de­part for 55. Shah was tick­ing things along nicely and reached his bril­liant hun­dred with a sin­gle.

Sole fi­nally got him for 113, Ber­ring­ton tak­ing a low catch, be­fore the gloom set in.

0 Scot­land’s Calum Ma­cleod cel­e­brates his cen­tury against Afghanista­n at The Grange yes­ter­day.

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