T20 World Cup: Afghanistan pull off upset win over New Zealand

Published June 9, 2024
GEORGETOWN: Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan (C) appeals for a wicket during the match against New Zealand at the Providence Stadium.—courtesy ICC
GEORGETOWN: Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan (C) appeals for a wicket during the match against New Zealand at the Providence Stadium.—courtesy ICC

GEORGETOWN (Guyana): Rampant Afghanistan mauled a lethargic New Zealand by 84 runs to grab top spot in Group ‘C’ at the T20 World Cup with an upset win at the Providence Stadium on Friday.

Openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz (80) and Ibrahim Zadrau (44) combined for 103 runs to power Afghanistan to a total of 159-6, before their bowlers exploited to the full a pitch assisting both pace and spin — left-arm seamer Fazalhaq Farooqi and captain Rashid Khan taking four wickets apiece — as New Zealand were skittled out for just 75.

Farooqi followed his five-wicket opening match demolition of Uganda with the first three wickets of the New Zealand innings before coming back to claim a fourth to end the match and complete figures of 4-17.

Champion leg-spinner Rashid shared the bowling honours with an identical haul of 4-17, including opposite number Kane Williamson with the first ball of his spell to effectively end the match as a contest.

“One of the greatest performances from us in T20I cricket against a big team. It is a great team effort,” Rashid said after the win. “Great win for Afghanistan and it is a privilege to be leading this side and winning against New Zealand ... It started from the batting, with how Ibrahim and Gurbaz were running.

“We have to give 100% effort, losing or winning does not matter [to me]. That is how we prepare. If we don’t give 100%, we will be missing something. I don’t care about the result a lot but it is about the effort.”

New Zealand’s capitulation and obvious rustiness leaves the 2021 beaten finalists with a tough challenge ahead, starting against hosts West Indies in at the Brian Lara Stadium in Trinidad next Wednesday.

“This just wasn’t good enough in terms of starting a tournament. It’s very frustrating,” admitted Williamson, reflecting on a forgettable night for New Zealand cricket.

“We have to move on quickly from this because the matches now come thick and fast for us. Yes, we have to learn from so much that went wrong without over-analysing, but we have to turn it around as quickly as we can,” he added.

After Williamson elected to field first, left-arm pace bowler Trent Boult took the new ball, with Lockie Ferguson opening from the other end, and conceded three boundaries in a row to Zadran.

New Zealand would still have been reasonably happy at the halfway stage with Afghanistan on 55 for two, but the two openers then went on the charge.

Zadran hit off-spinner Michael Bracewell for a brace of sixes and Gurbaz cracked Boult for another six when the pace bowler returned.

The New Zealanders finally took a wicket when Matt Henry bowled Zadran, and Henry took a second wicket when Azmatullah Omazari was caught by Ferguson for 22. Boult returned to take two wickets in the final over with a runout.

New Zealand were immediately in trouble when they lost Allen to the first ball of their innings, bowled leg stump by a ball from Fazalhaq Farooqi that jagged back off the seam.

His opening partner Conway followed for eight and Daryl Mitchell was caught behind for five leaving New Zealand at a parlous 28-3.

Rashid took the ball and struck in his first over, dismissing Mark Chapman for four and Michael Bracewell with his next delivery.

He then dismissed his opposite number, Williamson caught at slip, and New Zealand were finally all out after 15.2 overs for their second-lowest T20 score ever.

Scoreboards

Afghanistan vs New Zealand

AFGHANISTAN:

Rahmanullah Gurbaz b Boult 80

Ibrahim Zadran b Henry 44

Azmatullah Omarzai c Ferguson b Henry 22

Mohammad Nabi c Williamson b Ferguson 0

Rashid Khan run out (Conway) 6

Karim Janat not out 1

Gulbadin Naib c Phillips b Boult 0

Najibullah Zadran not out 1

EXTRAS (LB-5) 5

TOTAL (for six wickets, 20 overs) 159

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-103 (Ibrahim), 2-127 (Omarzai), 3-136 (Nabi), 4-156 (Rashid), 5-156 (Gurbaz), 6-158 (Naib)

DID NOT BAT: Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi

BOWLING: Boult 4-0-22-2; Henry 4-0-37-2; Santner 4-0-24-0; Bracewell 3-0-27-0; Ferguson 4-0-28-1; Mitchell 1-0-16-0

NEW ZEALAND:

F. Allen b Farooqi 0

D. Conway c Ibrahim b Farooqi 8

K. Williamson c Naib b Rashid 9

D. Mitchell c Gurbaz b Farooqi 5

G. Phillips c Rashid b Nabi 18

M. Chapman b Rashid 4

M. Bracewell lbw Rashid 0

M. Santner b Nabi 4

M. Henry c Janat b Farooqi 12

L. Ferguson c & b Rashid 2

T. Boult not out 3

EXTRAS (LB-5, W-5) 10

TOTAL (all out, 15.2 overs) 75

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-0 (Allen), 2-18 (Conway), 3-28 (Mitchell), 4-33 (Williamson), 5-43 (Chapman), 6-43 (Bracewell), 7-53 (Phillips), 8-59 (Santner), 9-63 (Ferguson)

BOWLING: Farooqi 3.2-0-17-4 (3w); Nabi 4-0-16-2; Naveen 3-0-10-0; Rashid 4-0-17-4 (2w); Ahmad 1-0-10-0

RESULT: Afghanistan won by 84 runs.

MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (Afghanistan)

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2024

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