In sports news cricket, Afghanistan achieved a historic milestone on Monday by securing their first-ever victory against Pakistan in men’s One Day Internationals (ODIs). Adding to the jubilation, this win marked their second triumph in the 2023 World Cup, making it an even more significant achievement.
Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, contributed a valuable 74 runs off 92 balls, allowing his team to set a target of 282/7. Afghanistan responded with a composed chase, capitalizing on some less-than-ideal fielding from the Pakistan side. Ultimately, Afghanistan clinched the match with a commanding eight-wicket victory and an over to spare.
While Afghanistan was considered the underdogs on paper, they had already demonstrated their mettle in previous matches, notably when they defeated defending champions England by 69 runs earlier in the tournament. Against Pakistan, they showcased their batting prowess, proving that they could pose a significant threat, much like their star-studded lineup of spinners. The Pakistan fielders’ misfields only provided them with more opportunities to shine.
WATCH: Irfan Pathan dances with Rashid Khan after Afghanistan stuns Pakistan at World Cup
The winning moment arrived when Captain Hashmatullah Shahidi struck a boundary off the last ball of the 49th over bowled by Shaheen Afridi. The joyous Afghanistan players and staff rushed onto the field, and the crowd at Chepauk Stadium wholeheartedly supported them, leading to a celebratory lap of honor by the players. During this lap, star spinner Rashid Khan broke into a dance with former India fast bowler Irfan Pathan. Pathan, who was at the ground as part of the Star Sports team providing match analysis, temporarily left his broadcast duties to join Rashid in a lively bhangra dance, a moment that quickly went viral on social media.
While Afghanistan is often recognized for its spinners, especially Rashid Khan and Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, it was their batting strength that shone in Chennai on Monday. Openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran set a strong foundation while chasing Pakistan’s target of 283. Their partnership was only broken in the 22nd over when Shaheen Afridi dismissed Rahmanullah Gurbaz for a solid 65 off 53 balls. This breakthrough, however, did not trigger a collapse by the Afghan team.
Rahmat Shah, who came in after Gurbaz’s dismissal, continued the momentum, narrowly missing a century. He was eventually dismissed by Hasan Ali in the 34th over after a well-compiled 87 runs off 113 balls. Rahmat (77*) then combined with Captain Hashmatullah Shahidi (48*) to construct a resilient partnership that culminated in the match-winning boundary.
Pakistan had set a target of 282/7 in their 50 overs, with spinner Noor Ahmad taking three wickets for Afghanistan, and Naveen-ul-Haq claiming two. Babar Azam (74) and Abdullah Shafique (58) notched half-centuries for Pakistan.
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