PAK vs AFG: ODI World Cup 2023, Match 22
Pakistan and Afghanistan got engaged in a mouthwatering clash on Monday, October 23 at the iconic M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. While the target set by Pakistani batters looked daunting at one point in time, the Afghan batters paved their way to stage one of the greatest upsets in the World Cups, thereby clinching a clinical victory by eight wickets.
Choosing to bat first after winning the toss, Babar Azam & Co. started off well. Skipper Azam also played a captain’s knock under pressure. However, it was the late blows of Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan who led the Men in Green to 282/7 at the end of 50 overs. The Afghan spinners were clinical with the ball in hand, as they kept the flow of runs under control. In the end, Hashmatullah Shahidi’s men saw no troubles whatsoever in the chase.
Here are the talking points from the match:
1. Noor Ahmad shines on WC debut
The youngest player of this edition of the World Cup, Noor Ahmad, had a memorable outing, as he ran through the ranks of Pakistani batters. He returned with 3/49 in his ten overs and impressed everyone with his performance. The other spinner also complimented him really well, which is why the Afghans were able to pile up pressure on the opposition.
2. Gurbaz-Zadran’s staggering opening stand
When the chase began, the Afghan openers, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahimullah Zadran, started to dismantle the opposition bowlers right from the word go. In the powerplay, the duo managed to pile up 60 runs, which added pressure on the Men in Green. They then went on to add 130 runs for the first wicket, before Gurbaz was dismissed for 65 by Shaheen Shah Afridi.
3. Rahmat Shah’s composure sees Afghanistan home
After the fall of the first wicket, Afridi was charged up for another one, but Rahmat Shah, at 3, ensured that there were no further hiccups into the chase. First, he supported Zadran, who went on to score 87 off 113 balls and then partnered with skipper Shahidi for an unbeaten 96-run stand. In the end, Shah remained not out on 77 and remained influential in the team’s second victory of the tournament.
Who Said What
Ibrahim Zadran, Player of the Match: I wanted to go out there with a positive mind and positive intent, and I did it. We (Gurbaz and himself) have played a lot of cricket with each other, we have good communication while running between the wickets as we have been playing together since under-16 days. The way Gurbaz supported me (in that opening partnershijp) – that helped me and we got the momentum in our favour. I am feeling great for myself and my country.
Babar Azam (Losing skipper): This hurts us. We had a good total. In the bowling, we weren’t up to the mark as we are not taking wickets in the middle overs. If you are not good in even one department, then you’ll lose the game. We didn’t stop boundaries and gave away runs, that cost us. Bowling – we started well, in the middle overs, we needed wickets but we couldn’t take any. All credit to Afghanistan the way they played in all three departments. That’s why they won. We are not playing good cricket in bowling and fielding. We’ll try our best in the next match. We didn’t hit the lengths in the middle overs, especially our spinners. We couldn’t put pressure on the batters.
Hashmatullah Shahidi (Winning skipper): This win tastes nice. The way we chased was very professional. Looking forward for the other games. The way we chased today, we’ll do it again. We have been playing quality cricket, the belief was there when we played the Asia Cup as well. First was England, today Pakistan, looking forward to the other games. We’ll try to play positive cricket and do a lot for out country. The spin bowling deprogramming was very good. Noor showed his talent. Gurbaz and Ibrahim gave the momentum and confidence. The game was in our hand from the beginning till the end.
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