Openers, Farooqi help Afghanistan rout debutants Uganda

Published June 5, 2024
GEORGETOWN: Afghanistan opener Rahmaullah Gurbaz plays a shot as Uganda wicket-keeper Simon Ssesazi looks on during their Group ‘C’ match at the Providence Stadium.—courtesy ICC
GEORGETOWN: Afghanistan opener Rahmaullah Gurbaz plays a shot as Uganda wicket-keeper Simon Ssesazi looks on during their Group ‘C’ match at the Providence Stadium.—courtesy ICC

GEORGETOWN: Afghanistan produced a dominant bowling and batting performance to thrash debutants Uganda by 125 runs in the T20 World Cup in Guyana on Monday.

Afghanistan openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran laid the foundations for the win with an opening stand of 154 in Afghanistan’s 183-5.

Left-arm seamer Fazalhaq Farooqi dazzled with five wickets for just nine runs as Uganda were skittled for 58 in 16 overs.

“It was the kind of start we wanted as a team,” Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan said. “It does not matter who we play, it is about the mindset. The hard work we have done in the last few weeks, the way the openers started and the way our bowlers bowled — it was a great overall team effort.”

Afghanistan had looked poised for a massive total after Gurbaz’s 76 off 45 balls which included four fours and four sixes. Zadran was in similarly swashbuckling form, blasting 70 off 46 deliveries including nine fours and a six.

Gurbaz and Zadran’s opening partnership was the second highest in men’s T20 World Cup history, beaten only by the 170 by England’s Jos Buttler and Alex Hales in 2022.

But when Gurbaz and Zadran fell in the space of four balls, Uganda were able to peg back Afghanistan. Masaba claimed a piece of cricket history for the East African nation after taking his country’s first-ever World Cup wicket, bowling Zadran in the 15th over to leave the score at 154-1.

Alpesh Ramjani then removed Gurbaz, who was caught by Riazat Ali Shah at deep square leg for 76.

Masaba claimed his second wicket, getting rid of Najibullah Zadran, who was caught at deep square leg by Dinesh Nakrani.

Cosmas Kyewuta took the other two wickets.

Any hopes that Uganda’s bowling fightback would spill into their innings were snuffed out by Farooqi in the first over.

After Uganda opener Ronak Patel creamed a four off Farooqi’s first ball, the Afghan bowler hit back with two wickets with his next two deliveries, removing Patel and Roger Mukasa, to leave the Africans reeling at 4-2.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman then had Simon Ssesazi caught by Farooqi off a top edge for four as Uganda slumped to 8-3.

The wickets continued to tumble and Uganda were soon 18-5 in the fifth over.

Fazalhaq took the wickets of Masaba and Robinson Obuya, both caught behind, to complete his five-wicket haul before skipper Rashid mopped up the tail by dismissing Bilal Hassan lbw and bowling Hendry Ssenyondo.

Uganda skipper Masaba took positives from his team’s T20 World Cup debut, despite the heavy defeat.

“Pretty special moment for us, hearing our national anthem and seeing our flag at the World Cup,” Masaba said. “Something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

“First game at the World Cup, lot of nerves. Good to get that out of the way. We will look to come out and play better next game.”

SCOREBOARD

AFGHANISTAN:

Rahmanullah Gurbaz c Shah b Ramjani 76

Ibrahim Zadran b Masaba 70

Najibullah Zadran c Nakrani b Masaba 2

Mohammad Nabi not out 14

Gulbadin Naib c Masaba b Kyewuta 4

Azamatullah Omarzai c Ramjani b Kyewuta 5

Rashid Khan not out 2

EXTRAS (B-1, LB-2, NB-1, W-6) 10

TOTAL (for five wickets, 20 overs) 183

DID NOT BAT: Karim Janat, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-154 (Zadran), 2-156 (Gurbaz), 3-162 (N. Zadran), 4-169 (Naib), 5-181 (Omarzai)

BOWLING: Ramjani 4-0-33-1, Kyewuta 4-0-25-2, Nakrani 3-0-37-0, Hassan 2-0-34-0 (1w, 1nb), Ssenyondo 2-0-19-0 (1w), Shah 1-0-11-0, Masaba 4-0-21-2

UGANDA:

R. Patel b Farooqi 4

S. Ssesazi c Farooqi b Mujeeb 4

R. Mukasa lbw b Farooqi 0

R. Shah b Farooqi 11

D. Nakrani b Naveen 6

A. Ramjani c Naib b Naveen 0

R. Obuya c Gurbaz b Farooqi 14

B. Masaba c Gurbaz b Farooqi 0

B. Hassaan lbw b Rashid 8

C. Kyewuta not out 2

H. Ssenyondo b Rashid 0

EXTRAS (LB-2, W-7) 9

TOTAL (all out, 16 overs) 58

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-4 (Patel), 2-4 (Mukasa), 3-8 (Ssesazi), 4-18 (Nakrani), 5-18 (Ramjani), 6-47 (Shah), 7-47 (Masaba), 8-48 (Obuya), 9-58 (Hassan)

BOWLING: Farooqi 4-0-9-5, Mujeeb 3-0-16-1 (1w), Naveen 2-0-4-2 (1w), Omarzai 2-0-7-0 (1w), Rashid 4-0-12-2, Nabi 1-0-8-0 (1w)

RESULT: Afghanistan won by 125 runs.

Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2024

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