Afghanistan 203-3 (Nawroz Mangal 112no) beat
Scotland 199-8 by seven wickets
First One-Day International, Sharjah
Afghanistan batsman Nawroz Mangal stroked an unbeaten 112 to guide his side to a seven-wicket victory over Scotland in the first of two One-Day Internationals in Sharjah.
He shared an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 144 with Samiullah Shenwari (55 not out) to help his side overhaul Scotland's 199 for eight in 33.5 overs.
The handsome victory puts them level with Scotland in the ICC World Cricket League Championship table on eight points and gives their campaign for World Cup 2015 qualification a boost.
The top two sides in the table will qualify automatically; Ireland and United Arab Emirates currently lead the way with 10 points from six matches.
Batting first, Scotland made a poor start, slipping to 34 for two before Matthew Machan (44) and Richie Berrington (51) added 99 for the third wicket.
Thereafter, however, they were unable to build any more significant partnerships as Gulbadeen Naib returned career-best figures of four for 30 and both Hamid Hassan and Dawlat Zadran grabbed a brace of wickets.
Moneeb Iqbal made 25 and captain Gordon Drummond 22 to take Scotland to the cusp of 200.
In reply, Iain Wardlaw struck quickly to remove Mohammad Shahzad, who had been the scourge of the Scots during the two Twenty20 games, for 19 and Asghar Stanikzai for seven.
From 40 for two, Mangal and Rahmat Shah (3) advanced the score for 59 before Shah became Majid Haq's 41st ODI scalp, putting him equal with John Blain as Scotland's record wicket-taker.
Hopes were high among Scotland followers that he might nudge ahead but that was the last of their successes.
Mangal hit eight fours and six sixes to close unbeaten on 112 in 96 balls - his maiden ODI century - while Shenwari made 55 in 68 balls with seven fours. Mangal had reached his half-century in 59 balls and needed just 27 more to reach three figures.
Their effort easily surpassed the previous best third-wicket partnership for Afghanistan of 84, is their third highest for any wicket and was the first time either Mangal or Shenwari had shared in a century stand.
The two sides meet again - with the chance for the winner to jump to the top of the table - on Friday (8th March).
© Cricket World 2013
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