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by Andrew Wood Thursday 8 January 2015
Afghanistan 240-2 (Javed Ahmadi 74) beatScotland 237-8 (Gardiner 96) by eight wicketsAssociates ODI Tri-Series, DubaiScorecard
Afghanistan won the opening game of the Associates One-Day International tri-series in Dubai as they handed Scotland an eight-wicket defeat.
Hamish Gardiner missed out on a maiden ODI century, falling short by four runs as he top scored in Scotland's score of 237 for eight.
An accomplished performance with the bat in reply from Afghanistan included half-centuries from Javed Ahmadi and Nasir Jamal as they reached their victory target in 38 overs.
Scotland's innings spluttered into life as they lost opener Calum MacLeod without scoring but Gardiner held it together by hitting 96 in 105 balls with 14 fours.
Kyle Coetzer (22), Matt Machan (28), Matthew Cross (28) all made starts while Josh Davey added a quickfire 22 not out in 17 balls at the end.
Captain Preston Mommsen and the experienced Richie Berrington fell cheaply, making just one and five respectively.
Dawlat Zadran was the outstanding bowler for Afghanistan, returning three for 41, while Hamid Hassan (1-52), Mirwais Ashraf (2-39), Gulbodin Naib (1-27) and Mohammad Nabi (1-46) were the other wicket-takers.
Ahmadi and Usman Ghani, who made 48, then put on 121 for the first wicket to take Afghanistan more than halfway to their target in less than 20 overs.
Ghani hit six fours and a six in his 39-ball innings and after he fell to Berrington, Ahmadi was dismissed soon after by the same bowler. He had made 74 in 81 balls.
Despite losing two wickets in four overs, Afghanistan maintained their poise and thanks to Afzar Zazai's unbeaten 48 in 58 balls and Jamal's 52 in 51, eased home with 12 overs to spare.
Berrington finished with figures of two for 38.
Ireland, the third team in the tournament, are in action when they take on Afghanistan in their first game on Saturday, but they will be without Tim Murtagh.
The Middlesex seamer has suffered a foot injury and will miss the tournament; he has already returned to London to see a specialist.
© Cricket World 2015