Connect with us
[entitysport_widget id=appendHtmlForslider_widgetcricket]

Afghanistan leave Babar and Co. shellshocked, dent Pakistan’s WC semifinal hopes | Cricket


Afghanistan leave Babar and Co. shellshocked, dent Pakistan’s WC semifinal hopes | Cricket


Living up to their tag of giant killers in the ongoing edition of the ICC World Cup 2023 on Monday, Hashmatullah Shahidi’s Afghanistan romped past a hapless Pakistan at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. Babar Azam’s men suffered another setback as Afghanistan handed the 1992 World Cup winners their third defeat of the ongoing tournament at the Chepauk. Since starting the World Cup with a win against the Netherlands and then pulling off a record chase against Sri Lanka, Pakistan have endured defeats against India, Australia and tonight the surprise package that is Afghanistan

Rahmat Shah celebrates his half-century during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 match between Pakistan and Afghanistan(PTI)
Rahmat Shah celebrates his half-century during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 match between Pakistan and Afghanistan(PTI)

“We have to get up to the mark in the first 10 overs with ball and partnerships in the middle with the bat,” Babar had said after Australia crushed Pakistan in its previous World Cup outing at Bengaluru. The Green Army was hoping to make amends when they squared off against noisy rivals Afghanistan at the Chepauk but in the end were handed a rude awakening. Afghanistan, who nearly defeated Pakistan twice during the Asia Cup 2022 in the UAE, emerged third time lucky.

Also Read: Matthew Hayden pays homage to Bishan Singh Bedi during PAK vs AFG World Cup clash at Chepauk: ‘Behind Allan Border…’

Babar’s patient knocks lifts Pakistan to 282

Batting first in match No.22 of the ICC World Cup, Pakistan made a promising start with opener Abdullah Shafique smashing a half-century. Losing star opener Imam-ul-Haq for cheap, Pakistan remained keen on posting a challenging total with Babar and Shafique leading the charge. Skipper Babar smashed a gritty half-century to put Pakistan on the verge of a gigantic total. Babar scored 74 off 92 balls while Shafique chipped in with 58 off 75. Providing Pakistan with a late flourish, middle-order batters Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed powered Pakistan to 282-7 in 50 overs. Shadab scored two boundaries in his 38-ball 40, and batting at a strike rate of 148.15, Iftikhar smashed 40 off 27 balls to set the tempo.

Noor Ahmad grabs career-best figures

On a spin-friendly Chepauk pitch, Afghanistan opted to field four slow bowlers against Pakistan, where debutant Noor Ahmad overshadowed superstar Rashid Khan. The 18-year-old left-armer finishing with three big wickets, sending back Shafique, Babar and Mohammed Rizwan (8) to prevent Pakistan from scoring big. Noor’s 3/49 played a pivotal part to give Afghanistan a real chance.

Lightning strikes twice!

Continuing his impressive run in the India World Cup, Rahmanullah Gurbaz played a quick-fire knock of 65 (53) to put Shaheen Afridi and Co. under the pump in Chennai. Joining forces with an on-song Gurbaz, opener Ibrahim Zadran smacked 10 boundaries in his entertaining knock of 87 off 113 balls to put Afghanistan in the driving seat. Putting a dent in Pakistan’s semi-final hopes at the World Cup, Rahmat Shah pummelled a half-century of his own and along with skipper Shahidi, got Afghanistan over the line.

Afghanistan script World Cup history

This was Afghanistan’s first-ever win over Pakistan in eight ODIs. Earlier, Afghanistan stunned defending world champions England by 69 runs at Delhi. Overall, Afghanistan have only won three games at the ODI World Cup. Afghanistan sealed its first World Cup win back in 2015 against Scotland. Thrashing Pakistan by eight wickets, Afghanistan have also completed its highest run chase in the 50-over format at Chepauk.

This one will hurt: Babar

“This hurts us. We had a good total, but in bowling, we were not up to the mark because we weren’t taking wickets in the middle overs. In a World Cup, if you are not good even in one department, you lose. We started well while bowling, but we couldn’t take wickets. All credit to Afghanistan. We are not playing good cricket, [especially] in bowling and fielding. The pitch was helping the spinners even in the second innings. There was no pressure on their batsmen.”

Pakistan captain Babar was at a loss of words, but managed to lift himself up. His captaincy was criticised for being too dull and inactive, one that allowed Afghanistan to thrive in the chase instead of feeling pressure. With a hat-trick of defeats, Pakistan are now in a need to give themselves a good, hard look into the mirror. With their semifinal hopes dangling with a thread, Babar and Pakistan will need to conjure a miracle to dream of a place in the top four.


Continue Reading
You may also like...
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Cricket

Most Runs Scored by


To Top