"A win against Pakistan tastes nice": Afghanistan captain Shahidi reflects on stunning 8-wicket victory over neighbours

Sports Tuesday 24/October/2023 09:26 AM
"A win against Pakistan tastes nice": Afghanistan captain Shahidi reflects on stunning 8-wicket victory over neighbours

Chennai : After producing a stunning upset victory over their more fancied and bitter neighbours Pakistan, Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi said his team has set sights on more such wins in their ongoing campaign at the ODI World Cup.

Leaving the cricketing world and pundits in utter disbelief, Afghanistan registered their second surprise victory in the World Cup and their first-ever win over Pakistan in 50-over cricket.

Riding on a dazzling all-round performance in the field, Afghanistan stunned their neighbours with a thumping eight-wicket defeat on a sluggish Chennai surface on Monday.

The opening pair of Rahmanullah Gurbaz (65), and Ibrahim Zadran (87), along with Rahmat Shah (77)* at No.3, starred with the bat to help Afghanistan post a win for the ages.

Chasing 283, a challenging total on a Chennai pitch affording uneven bounce, Afghanistan cantered to a win by eight wickets, with an over to spare.

Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, Shahidi lauded the team's professional approach in chasing down the target.

"A win against Pakistan tastes nice. The way we chased we chased down the target...it was very professional. We are looking forward to the other games. We believe that we can pull off similar chases in the other matches as we go forward. We can do it again. The quality and brand of cricket we have been playing over the last couple of years is for everyone to see. The belief was there as well while we were playing the Asia Cup," Shahidi said at the post-match presentation.

He added that his fellow teammates were eager to showcase their skills, play positive cricket and post more wins in the tournament.

Afghanistan has now got the better of two cricketing powerhouses -- former world champions Pakistan and the defending champions England. The win lifted Afghanistan to sixth on the points table.

"At the start of the tournament, I said we want to make it historic for our country and fellow Afghans. We beat England, the reigning world champions, and then followed it up with a victory over Pakistan. We are eagerly looking forward to our other games. We'll try our best to play positive cricket in this World Cup and bring some joy to people back home," Shahidi added.

Lavishing praise on 18-year-old spinner Noor Ahmad, who was the pick of the bowlers for Afghanistan, picking up three wickets, the skipper said his young teammate came up with an "outstanding" performance.

"Our spinners came good today. We gave a chance to Noor and he repaid our faith and demonstrated his talent and skills on the biggest stage. Gurbaz and Ibrahim got us off to a flier, giving us momentum and confidence for the batters to follow. The chase was in our control right from ball one to the end. The partnership that myself and Rahmat were involved in ensured no further hiccups along the way," the Afghanistan captain said.

The high-flying Afghans will play Sri Lanka next on October 30 at the high-scoring Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.