x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Izatullah Dawlatzai has career cricket day for Afghanistan at ICC Intercontinental Cup

Quick bowler Izatullah Dawlatzai returned for Afghanistan in a big way with a career-best six for 57 against Scotland in the ICC Intercontinental Cup, writes Amith Passela.

The Afghanistan cricket team celebrates the dismissal of Scotland's Richie Berrington at the ICC Intercontinental Cup in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. Ravindranath K / The National
The Afghanistan cricket team celebrates the dismissal of Scotland's Richie Berrington at the ICC Intercontinental Cup in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. Ravindranath K / The National

ABU DHABI // Kabir Khan's decision to leave out his quick bowler Izatullah Dawlatzai in the Twenty20 and 50-over matches against Scotland and bring him in for the Intercontinental Cup game was vindicated on Tuesday with a stunning performance by the young paceman.

The 21 year old took a career best six for 57 from 16 overs to send Scotland crashing to 125 all out on the opening day of the four-day match at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.

"We left him out of the shorter formats and told him to just focus on this game," Kabir, the Afghanistan coach, said.

"He came fresh and delivered for us with an extraordinary performance."

"We knew there was enough moisture in the first session if we put Scotland in to bat first. And then the bowlers did a great job.

"It has all worked out well for us in the first day so far."

Afghanistan were 150 for four in reply at close of play and Kabir felt a 250-plus first innings total would put his team in a strong position.

Scotland were left reeling at 68 for nine until the last wicket pair of Robert Taylor (48 not out) and Safyaan Sharif (20) gave their score some respectability.

"I just concentrated on a good line and length," Dawlatzai said.

"There was a strong breeze and I got some movement off it as well as the pitch. I am really pleased that I could deliver for my team."

Majid Haq struck twice in two overs as Scotland fought back, but Mohammad Shahzad, the wicketkeeper who usually opens in the shorter formats of the game, played a cameo innings to put them 25 runs ahead at the end of play.

Shahzad smashed five fours and hoisted the final delivery over the wide long on boundary for six to remain 30 not out from 21 deliveries.

apassela@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE