Afghanistan shock Pakistan by eight wickets in World Cup – Sport

Afghanistan produced a brilliant batting and bowling display to hand Pakistan a stunning eight-wicket defeat in the Cricket World Cup on Monday.

Chasing the 283-run target, Afghanistan were lifted by Ibrahim Zadran (87), Rahmat Shah (77 not out) and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (65) as they scored 286-2 in 49 overs.

Pakistan managed 282-7 in their 50 overs with 74 from skipper Babar Azam and 58 from opener Abdullah Shafique but the total was not enough for a clinical Afghanistan.

Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi, with a 45-ball 48 not out, hit the winning boundary as Afghanistan improved their highest ODI chase of 274 against the UAE in Dubai in 2014.

The win was Afghanistan’s first against Pakistan in eight ODIs and came eight days after their shock win over defending champions England in Delhi.

“This win is delicious,” Shahidi said. “The way we chased was very professional and the way we did it will help us going into our other games now.

“We play quality cricket. We always have faith and at the start of the tournament I told my team that I want to make it a historic one for our country and our people. We did that against England and now against Pakistan.

The defeat leaves Pakistan’s World Cup campaign in disarray with three defeats in five games and a formidable South Africa to face at the same venue on Friday.

In contrast, Afghanistan’s campaign has been slightly revived with two wins in five matches and struggle with Sri Lanka as their next opponents in Pune on Sunday.

“It really hurt us. We got a good total. Our bowling is not up to the mark,” said Pakistan skipper Azam.

The victory was met with celebratory gunfire, cheers and fireworks throughout the Afghan capital of Kabul for at least 15 minutes after the game.

The victory for Afghanistan comes at a time of tense political and diplomatic relations between the two neighbors.

Pakistan were sloppy in terms of claiming easy boundaries where openers Zadran and Gurbaz took their side to 100 in the 16th over.

The pair put on 130 in the 22nd over and only a miscued shot from Gurbaz off Shaheen Shah Afridi brought Pakistan their first wicket.

Gurbaz hit nine boundaries and a six in his 53-ball knocks while Zadran scored 10 boundaries off 113 deliveries before handing a catch behind Hasan Ali with 93 more to go.

Rahmat and Shahidi ensured that Afghanistan did not collapse.

Rahmat hit five fours and two sixes in his 84-ball stay on the right.

Earlier, Azam hit a stylish half-century to guide his team to a fighting total after he won the toss and batted first.

Azam’s 92-ball knock was complemented by Shafique’s 75-ball 58 while Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed scored valuable 40 runs each.

On a spin-friendly Chidambaram Stadium pitch, Afghanistan fielded four slow bowlers with 18-year-old left-armer Noor Ahmad taking a career-best 3-49 on his World Cup debut.

Noor shines on debut

Shadab added a quick 73 runs with Iftikhar for the sixth wicket as Pakistan took 61 in the last five overs, with Shadab falling on the last delivery.

Iftikhar hit four sixes and two fours while Shadab’s innings had a six and a four.

Pakistan enjoyed a strong start to a 56-run stand before Azmatullah Omarzai dismissed Imam-ul-Haq for 17 in the 11th over.

Ahmad struck his first blow when he trapped Shafique for 58 in the 23rd over. Shafique hit two sixes and five fours for his third half-century in the World Cup.

Ahmad then dismissed Pakistan’s top scorer in the World Cup, Mohammad Rizwan, caught sweeping in his next over to leave Pakistan on 120-3.

Azam also fell to Ahmad when the Pakistan skipper played a tennis-like shot to a delivery that seemed out of his reach, ending up hitting it straight into the hands of Mohammad Nabi at extra cover.

Azam added 43 with Saud Shakeel making 25.

Afghan spinner Rashid Khan went wicketless in his 10 overs but conceded just 41 runs, while pacer Naveen-ul-Haq took 2-52.

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