Top-order batsman Samiullah Shenwari scored a gritty 96 to pave the way for Afghanistan's historic one-wicket victory over Scotland in a nail-bitting Pool A match of the World Cup, in Dunedin, on Thursday.
Chasing 211 for victory at the University Oval, Afghanistan were in dire straits at 97 for seven before Shenwari played the innings of his life to help the Mohammad Nabi-led side post their first World Cup victory in their maiden appearance with three balls to spare.
Shenwari stitched crucial partnerships with the tail-enders and the team got much-needed help from No 10 Hamid Hassan (15 not out) and last-man Shapoor Zadran (12 not out), who stood unbeaten for the final 19 runs of the victory.
Shenwari played 147 balls, struck seven boundaries and five huge hits over the fence during his career-best knock.
Opener Javed Ahmadi also made a useful contribution up the order for the Afghans with a run-a-ball 51, the knock decorated with eight boundaries.
But the star of the day was Shenwari. He first joined hands with Dawlat Zadran (9) and then Hassan to raise the hopes of an Afghan victory before Hassan and Shapoor finished off the chase with three balls to spare.
Earlier, Majid Haq (31) and Alasdair Evans (28) shared 62 valuable runs for the ninth wicket to lift Scotland to 210, their highest cricket World Cup score in three appearances.
Shenwari's dismissal brought Afghanistan's last pair at the crease and victory looked improbable for the Asian minnows.
But Hassan and Shapoor had other plans as they batted sensibly, picking singles and twos without taking any risks to take Afghanistan home.
The Scots were themselves to blame as they failed to convert starts into something more substantial. Four of top six fell between 23 and 31, but the resistance from the lower order lifted them over 200.
For Afghanistan, the opening bowling pair of Shapoor (4/38) and Dawlat (3/29) used the bowler-friendly conditions to perfection to share seven wickets between them.