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Outstanding Josh in command in crushing Scotland victory

Josh Davey ScotlandSomerset’s Josh Davey produced an outstanding all-round performance with bat and ball to completely dominate Scotland’s one-day international against Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Josh scored an unbeaten 53 and then returned career best figures of 6-28 to skittle Afghanistan out for just 63 and set up a massive 150-run victory for his side. In doing so, he became the first Scotland player to take five wickets and score a half century in the same game.

He is only the fifth player in one-day international history to have taken six wickets and scored more than 50 runs, joining such famous names as Lance Klusener, Scott Styris, Paul Collingwood and Shahid Afridi, who have achieved the feat in the past. He also became the first Associate cricketer to take six wickets in an innings in ODIs.

To wrap up a day full of records, Davey and fellow pace bowler Iain Wardlaw could celebrate becoming the first pair of opening bowlers to ever claim all 10 wickets in an ODI.

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The match was Scotland’s third game and first victory in the Dubai Triangular series with Afghanistan and Ireland, which is being played as a warm-up for next month’s ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Afterwards Josh told Cricket Scotland: “It’s just one of those days where everything goes your way. Few and far between in cricket, but I’m very, very happy with my performance and it’s nice to beat my own record and [the other records] made me smile a bit more!”

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Asked what had changed from Scotland’s first game against Afghanistan, which had ended in a comprehensive defeat for the Saltires, Josh said: “The wicket and the light [Wednesday was a day/night game]. The dew came down and just put a bit more in the wicket really. We just tried to keep it simple, hit areas and the wicket did the rest really and just played into my hands.”

Scotland initially got off to a poor start on Wednesday though after winning the toss and electing to bat. They slumped to 108-6 after 33 overs, with only skipper Preston Mommsen providing any stability with 31.

The fall of the sixth wicket brought Davey together with Richie Berrington and the pair crafted an invaluable partnership worth 99 runs over the next 15.5 overs at just over six runs per over.

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Berrington was first to his 50, eventually falling for a stubborn 62 in the penultimate over of the innings, having faced 84 balls and hit three fours. Davey meantime played a more aggressive knock, finishing on 53 not out from 48 deliveries, with five boundaries.

Initially having little of the strike, he hit Scotland’s first boundary in seven overs in the 40th, pulling Aftab Alam through mid-on, before ending the over by driving the same bowler over the infield for four more.

Taking a shine to the Aftab’s bowling, Davey hit the Afghan medium-quick for another boundary in his next over, driving a low full toss hard through the covers. When the same bowler returned to bowl the 47th over, Davey escaped after being dropped at point on 34, but then scooped the next delivery, a no ball, over the keeper’s head for four more to keep up the pressure on the fielding side.

His final boundary came in the 48th over when he lifted a full toss from pace-man Izatullah Dawlatzai over the infield.

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Scotland closed on 213-7, enough to give their bowlers something to defend, but someway short of the 238 which Afghanistan had successfully chased down against them in the first match of this tournament.

Davey had an expensive start with the ball, going for 13 runs off his first two overs. He was briefly taken out of the attack and returned from the other end in the sixth over to devastating effect, picking up two wickets in five balls.

First he bowled the in-form Afghan opener Javed Ahmadi, fresh from scores of 74 and 81, playing down the wrong line for 21. Four balls later he bowled Afsar Zazai without scoring and Afghanistan were 38-2, requiring another 176 runs to win, but still with 43 overs in which to get them. There was no need to panic.

Davey’s next over, his third, was a maiden and after keeping the pressure on, he struck again in his fourth, having Asghar Stanikzai comfortably caught behind off an outside edge for 2.

Davey’s fellow opening bowler Iain Wardlaw chipped in with two wickets of his own in the 14th over of the Afghan innings, including opener Usman Ghani who finished his side’s top scorer with 25, and captain Mohammad Nabi without scoring. Afghanistan had crumbled to 50-5 off 14 overs.

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Not to be outdone, Davey took two more wickets in the next over, trapping Najibullah Zadran lbw for 1 and then picking up Mirwais Ashraf in the same manner without scoring.

And one further wicket fell in the next over as Wardlaw claimed his third of the innings. But even then Davey couldn’t keep out of the action as he took a good catch in the deep off a steepler.

Afghanistan were 52-8, having lost five wickets for 12 runs in just 2.5 overs.

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They managed to survive the next over without further loss, Davey being top edged over the keeper’s head for four, before Wardlaw picked up his fourth wicket to finish with figures of 4-22 from six overs with two maidens.

It was left to Josh to wrap things up in the next over and complete his record-breaking day by bowling Izatullah Dawlatzai for a duck off the third ball of the 19th over. He finished with figures of 8.3-2-28-6 and a well-deserved man of the match award.

Match scorecard: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/812645.html

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