Afghanistan’s Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi celebrate after winning the match by 8 wickets
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Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi has expressed his delight with the way his side successfully chased down 283 runs in a stunning upset against Pakistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.
Afghanistan on Monday clinched their second win in the 2023 World Cup by comfortably beating Pakistan by eight wickets at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium.
It marked Afghanistan’s first-ever One-Day International (ODI) victory against their neighbours.
Overjoyed Afghanistan skipper Shahidi, who scored the winning run, said the victory that ended their seven-match losing streak to Pakistan “tastes sweet”.
Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi said the win was bigger than the one against England earlier in the tournament.
“This win tastes sweet. The way we chased was very professional. Looking forward to the other games. The way we chased today, we’ll do it again,” Shahidi said at the post-match presentation on Monday.
“The quality cricket that we have been playing from the last couple of years, the belief was there when we were playing the Asia Cup also.”
“At the start of the tournament, I said that we want to make this tournament historic for our country’s people. First was England, and today Pakistan; looking forward to the other games. We’ll try our best to play positive cricket and do a lot for our country in this World Cup.”
Afghanistan produced an all-round effort against Pakistan, who fell short in their bowling and fielding, according to their captain Babar Azam.
The spin team of Afghanistan, as anticipated, were excellent on the Chennai track, with only Mujeeb Ur Rahman finishing with an economy of over six. The rest of the spinners – Rashid Khan, Noor Ahmed and Nabi – leaked just three or four runs an over in their respective 10-over spells.
“The spin bowling department did very well. We gave Noor a chance and trusted in him and he showed his talent. The way Gurbaz and Ibrahim started the innings, gave that momentum and confidence. The game was in our hands from the beginning till the end. The last partnership that me and Rahmat played was also good,” said the Afghan skipper.
Nabi, meanwhile, was thrilled to finally get a victory over Pakistan in the 50-over format.
“It’s a big moment for the whole team, but also whole [of] Afghanistan as well. We have been waiting for the last 10-12 years. We have played around eight games against Pakistan, and we won one game in a big event,” said Nabi in a post-match interview.
“It’s a big achievement for the guys. For the last three months, we’ve been working very hard. We played a series against Pakistan, then the Asia Cup, and then came here to the World Cup. It’s a lovely moment today.”
Afghanistan jumped to sixth place in the Cricket World Cup 2023 points table, while Pakistan remained in the fifth spot.
Pakistan’s team has four points from five games with a net run rate of -0.400.
Their road to the semi-final looks tough now as their remaining group games are against South Africa, Bangladesh, New Zealand and England. South Africa and New Zealand are in top form while England are the defending champions.
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