WC: Afghanistan stuns Pakistan by eight wickets thanks to Gurbaz, Zadran, and Noor
By siliconindia | Tuesday, 24 October 2023, 09:06:55 AM IST
Afghanistan defeated Pakistan by eight wickets with six balls remaining to win their first match against their neighbours at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, sparking yet another major stir in the ICC Men's ODI World Cup. Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, and Rahmat Shah all scored half-centuries in the victory. They scored 130 runs for the first wicket thanks to opening batsman Gurbaz's 53-ball 65 and his partner Zadran's 113-ball 87. Afghanistan reached 286/2 in 49 overs after holding Pakistan to 282/7 in 50 overs thanks in large part to Rahmat Shah, who hit an undefeated 77 off 84 deliveries and had an undefeated 86-run stand for the third wicket with captain Hashmatullah Shahidi (48 not out).
This is Afghanistan's second upset in this tournament after they stunned defending champions England by 69 runs a few days back. This was their highest-ever chase in ODI history. This is Afghanistan's second win in five matches in this event and takes them to four points, the same as Australia and Pakistan. However, Australia are in fourth position on better Net Run Rate while Pakistan are fifth, leaving Afghanistan occupying the sixth position among 10 teams.
Electing to bat, Pakistan were restricted to 282/7 in their 50 overs thanks mainly to a 92-ball 74 by skipper Babar Azam and a 75-ball 58 by opener Abdullah Shafique. Babar completed his fifty in 69 balls, hitting three fours. Shadab Khan scored a 38-ball 40 (1x4, 1x6) while Iftikhar Ahmed blasted a 27-ball 40 (2x4, 4x5) to give the score some respectability after the Pakistan middle-order failed to capitalise on the platform provided by Shafique and skipper Babar Azam.
Left-arm spinner Noor Ahmad claimed 3-49 off his 10 overs while pacer Naveen-ul-Haq bagged 2-52 off seven but it was spinners Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan who applied the brakes on the Pakistan innings in the middle overs. Chasing 283, Afghanistan got off to a brilliant start as Gurbaz and Zadran laid a solid foundation as they raised 130 runs for the opening wicket in 21.1 overs. Gurbaz struck nine fours and one six in his breezy innings while Zadran, who reached 50 in 54 balls, was more circumspect towards the end as he hit 10 boundaries. Gurbaz blazed to his fifty in 38 balls, hitting nine fours.
Rahmat Shah took over the mantle of guiding Afghanistan to victory as he reached his half-century off 57 balls. He added Zadran added 60 runs for the second wicket. Shah then raised a superb 96 runs for the unfinishing third wicket partnership as he and skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi guided Afghanistan to victory. Pakistan's bowlers were listless as none of them, including Shaheen Shah Africa could make much impression on the batters.
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