Afghanistan has been able create history in CWC 2023. They proved their win against England is not a one-off by beating Pakistan. Most of the times, Pakistan have been very inconsistent in World Cups. They lose to an associate team one day and reach final on another. Afghanistan have looked like pulling off a win against them in 2019 CWC. They lost due to wrong calculation by Gulbadin Naib but they did not lose this opportunity. Afghanistan remained calm, composed and kept it simple against Pakistan, this time around.
Pakistan have won the toss and elected to bat first. As Afghanistan never won against them, Pakistan has decided to put this inexperienced team under score board pressure. But they did not get easy runs at any moment. Imam-ul-Haq(17) got out in the 11th over after trying to set himself. Abdullah Shafique(58) scored well till that moment but then seemed to slow down too much. Afghanistan spinners dictated Pakistan runrate for most of the innings.
Babar Azam absorbed pressure applied by spinners and score 74 runs off 92 balls. But he needed to kick-on. Saud Shakeel(25), Iftikhar Ahmed(40) and Shadab Khan(40) in the death overs managed to up the scoring ante. Pakistan ended up scoring 282/7 in 50 overs. Noor Ahmad(3/49) had a stunning debut for Afghanistan in the world cups. Azmatullah Omarzai(1/50), Naveen-ul-Haq(2/52) and Mohammad Nabi(1/31) took wickets. Rashid Khan looked like taking wickets for every ball for Afghanistan, even though he picked none.
In the chase, Afghanistan batters never looked in trouble. They absorbed score board pressure like experienced batters. Rahmanullah Gurbaz(65) gave them an aggressive start. Ibrahim Zadran(87) continued and Rahmat Shah(77) kept going after they lost him. Hashmatullah Shahidi(48) finished the game at the end. Afghanistan won the match by 8 wickets and every batter who batted dug in and contributed for this clinical win.
Pakistan bowlers just looked lacklustre. The bizzare issue is that Pakistan never looked like they came to field as they just kept dropping catches, missing boundaries and giving away 2’s. Afghanistan even though they did not get huge number of 4’s and 6’s, they managed huge number of 2’s and 3’s. They converted 1’s into 2’s and that led them not bogged down under pressure. Afghanistan can take this as a huge start in right direction and see to improve results in coming days.