Scotland's hopes of qualifying for the Super 10 stage of the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 have been dealt an early blow following a first-round Group B defeat to Afghanistan on 8 March. The Saltires, who fell to a one-wicket loss to the same opponents during last year's World Cup campaign and have yet to win a match in this competition, were defeated by 14 runs in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
Mohammad Shahzad set the tone for victory with an unbeaten 61 and captain Asghar Stanikzai later notched 55 not out as Afghanistan set a decent target of 171 for victory. George Munsey and former Nottinghamshire batsman Kyle Coetzer formed a solid opening partnership of 84 in reply before both falling in quick succession. Matt Machan added 36 after Calum MacLeod was run out, while Preston Mommsen hit 17 as his team fell short.
"I'm very pleased to win the first match, hopefully we can play well in the next game [against Hong Kong]," Shahzad told BBC Sport after the match. "This was a good win for us, Scotland's morale was good so we are looking good for the next game. We watched the first match, the wicket was good, it was a bit slower in the second match and not coming onto the bat, so the bowlers did a good job. Good bowling by Rashid Khan changed the game."
Earlier in the day, Zimbabwe began with their own 14-run win over minnows Hong Kong at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium (New VCA). Led by a 46-ball 59 from opener Vusi Sibanda and Elton Chigumbura's 30 not out, the Chevrons posted a total of 144-6 from their allotted overs.
Ex-Durham MCC University and Warwickshire batsman Jamie Atkinson, who resigned his position as captain in May 2015, scored 53 and Pakistan-born skipper Tanvir Afzal added 31 but it was not enough for Simon Cook's side to spring an upset. Group A gets underway on Wednesday (9 March), with Bangladesh facing the Netherlands and Ireland meeting Oman in Dharamsala.