|ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, Chennai:|
|Pakistan 282-7 (50 overs): Babar 74 (92), Shafique 58 (75); Noor 3-39|
|Afghanistan 286-2 (49 overs): Zadran 87 (113), Gurbaz 65 (53), Rahmat 77* (84), Hashmat 48* (45)|
|Afghanistan won by eight wickets|
Afghanistan beat Pakistan for the first time in one-day cricket by pulling off the most successful comeback in the format in a World Cup thriller.
Ibrahim Zadran made 87, Rahmanullah Gurbaz hit 65 and Rahmat Shah scored an unbeaten 77 as Afghanistan reached their target of 283 with eight wickets and six balls remaining.
Afghanistan are in sixth place, leaving defending champions England bottom of the table.
Captain Babar Azam earlier scored 74 as Pakistan scored 282-7 in Chennai.
Teenage spinner Noor Ahmad was the pick of the Afghan bowlers with 3-49.
It is Afghanistan’s first win over Pakistan in ODIs at the eighth attempt. With a total score of 286-2, they surpass their previous record of 276-8 when they beat the United Arab Emirates by 274 sets in 2014.
It is also only Afghanistan’s third victory at the World Cup, following victories over Scotland in 2015 and England earlier in this tournament.
Afghanistan keeps hopes alive
The Afghan fans in the crowd went wild as skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi made the winning runs and the players greeted them with a lap of honour, some draped in the national flag.
The game brought back memories of another thriller between the teams at Headingley in the 2019 World Cup, although this time it was Afghanistan who prevailed and finally beat their nearest neighbors in this format.
It also proved that Afghanistan’s victory over England in Delhi was no fluke as they handled the pressure admirably during the chase.
Openers Gurbaz and Zadran made a blistering start to ensure they stayed above the required quota, putting on 130 for the first wicket, their second century of the tournament.
Gurbaz edged Usama Mir at third and Zadran fell 13 runs behind Hassan Ali’s century, but Afghanistan showed resilience to maintain their momentum.
Rahmat hit five fours and two sixes with his composed batting, making Afghanistan the first chasing team in World Cup history to have all of their top three score half-centuries.
He was ably supported by Hashmat, who hit 48 from 45 balls, in a third-wicket partnership worth 96 to get Afghanistan over the line.
Pakistan suffers a dismal defeat
After starting the tournament with two consecutive wins, Pakistan have now suffered three consecutive defeats, putting their semi-final hopes in jeopardy.
They started well with the bat and reached 56-0 after the powerplay, their best 10-over total to bat first in this World Cup, but their innings faltered as they were well tied up by Afghanistan’s spin-heavy attack.
The star with the ball for Afghanistan was 18-year-old Noor, playing only his fourth ODI and making his World Cup debut.
The left-arm wrist spinner took the crucial wickets of Abdullah Shafique, who made 58 off 75, Muhammad Rizwan and captain Babar to pin Pakistan in the middle overs.
By the time Babar’s grueling 92-ball strike ended in the 42nd over, Pakistan were reeling at 206-5, although Iftikhar Ahmed provided much-needed momentum late on with a brisk 40 from just 27 balls, including four sixes.
He scored 73 for the sixth wicket with Shadab Khan, who scored 40 off 38 as they took Pakistan to a seemingly impressive score before both were dismissed in the final over.
Afghanistan showed tremendous maturity and composure in the chase, although their cause was helped by Pakistan’s sloppy fielding, which left team director Mickey Arthur seething in the dugout.
Pakistan remains in Chennai for their next game against South Africa on Friday. Afghanistan travel to Pune to face Sri Lanka on Monday.
“That really hurt us” – reaction
Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi: “This victory tastes good. The way we chased was very professional and the way we did that will help us going into our other games now.”
“We play quality cricket. We have always believed in this and at the beginning of the tournament I told my team that I wanted to make it a historic tournament for our country and our people. We did that against England and now against Pakistan.”
“Our bowling was very good, especially our spinners. We gave Noor a chance and trusted in his talent. With the bat, the way we started the innings gave us a lot of confidence and momentum.”
Pakistan captain Babar Azam: “That really hurt us. We achieved a good result. Our bowling is not up to par.”
“At World Cups, all three departments have to fire and we didn’t do that. Afghanistan played very well, but we gave them a lot of runs and that cost us.”
“We were hoping to win, but they played well in all three areas and we didn’t. We have to fix that in our next game.”
Source : www.bbc.co.uk