Valiant Afghans Shock Neighbours Pakistan In A Historic Chase

The resilient Afghans know how to wade through turbulent times the best. This was reflected when the Afghani squad put up a valiant batting effort to trump neighbors Pakistan by 8 wickets (6 balls to spare) on a difficult Chepauk pitch in Chennai on Monday. With this, the Afghans have delivered another upset in the tournament just eight days after defeating reigning champions England.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan won the toss and decided to bat first. Opener Abdulllah Shafique(58 in 75 balls) and skipper Babar Azam(74 in 92 balls) helped build a foundation for the Green Shirts. The middle order with the likes of Saud Shakeel(25 in 34 balls), Shadab Khan(40 in 38 balls), and Iftikhar Ahmed(40 in 27 balls) came in as reinforcements. They managed to score a challenging total of 282 runs for the loss of 7 wickets in the first innings.

But the Afghan spin quartet of former skipper Md. Nabi(10-0-31-1), stalwart Rashid Khan(10-0-41-0), Mujeeb Ur Rahman(8-0-55-0), and southpaw Noor Ahmed(10-0-49-3) put a tight lid on the runs. With pacers Naveen-ul-Haq(7-0-52-2) and all-rounder Azmatullah Omarzai(5-0-50-1) playing second fiddle, Pakistan was denied from reaching the coveted 300-run mark.

But it was the second innings that became the talk of the day. The Afghans put up a dominant performance with a clinical approach to chase down the target. The top order answered the challenge with nerves of steel, ending the day with 286 runs for the loss of just 2 wickets in 49 overs. Openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz(65 in 53 balls) and Ibrahim Zadran(87 in 113 balls) built a solid foundation for the Afghan squad before being dismissed by Pakistani quicks, Shaheen Shah Afridi(10-0-58-1) and Hasan Ali(10-1-44-1). 

The finishing touches were provided by the splendid duo of Rahmat Shah(77 in 84 balls) and captain Hasmatullah Shahidi(48 in 45 balls) who showed their explosive side while staying calm to lead their team to victory and to the annals of history!

It was the Pakistan Cricket Board(PCB) that initially helped establish the Afghan Cricket Team, constituting several Afghan refugees staying in Pakistan. But see how the tables have turned with the pupils becoming the masters! Now it would be interesting to see how both the teams go about their business with both being in a tight spot on the points table, at number 5 and 6 respectively. 

Here’s the latest look at the points table after Monday’s match:

TeamMatchesWonLost Points
New Zealand5418
South Africa4316
Sri Lanka4132

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