Karim Sadiq was the unlikely hero on Wednesday as giantkillers Afghanistan nudged closer to a first Cricket World Cup appearance.
Forced by a finger injury to abandon wicketkeeping at Vaal University south of Johannesburg, Sadiq turned to bowling and instead snatched four Denmark wickets for the loss of 27 runs in a five-wicket 2011 World Cup qualifier triumph.
Sadiq proved useful with the bat, too, hitting 39 runs as the Afghans reached their 205-run target in 46.2 overs after Denmark amassed 204-9 in their 50 overs.
“It was bad luck for Denmark that I injured my finger, which meant I stopped keeping wicket. My captain trusted me with the ball and I bowled wicket to wicket and ended with four and a run out,” man-of-the-match Sadiq said.
“My coach was very happy with my bowling today and I am hoping he will let me bowl in other games during this tournament,” Sadiq said. “Bermuda is a big game for us on Thursday as they have played one-day international cricket, but if we win my country will be close to qualification for the Super Eights phase of the competition.”
In other Group B matches, a Ryan ten Doeschate century steered the Netherlands to a surprisingly easy seven-wicket victory over Kenya and the United Arab Emirates overcame Bermuda by four wickets.
Ireland won by seven wickets against Scotland in the feature Group A match and avenged a loss to their old rivals in the 2005 final of the competition, then called the ICC Trophy.
An unbeaten 121 from Neil McCullum lifted the Scots to 232-7, but the title holders could not contain William Porterfield, who hit an 87-ball century, including three sixes and 12 fours.
Uganda upset Namibia by six runs in the closest contest of the opening series of matches and an unbeaten 100 from Sunil Dhaniram helped Cananda to a 103-run win over Oman.