Cricket World Cup 2023: Afghanistan lift 'struggling' country's spirits with fourth win in India

Skipper Hashmatullah dedicates Friday's victory over Netherlands to Afghan people

By AFP

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Afghanistan's batters Hashmatullah Shahidi and Azmatullah Omarzai celebrate after winning the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 match against Netherlands,on Friday. - PTI
Afghanistan's batters Hashmatullah Shahidi and Azmatullah Omarzai celebrate after winning the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 match against Netherlands,on Friday. - PTI

Published: Fri 3 Nov 2023, 7:58 PM

Afghanistan skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi.said the team was still 'dreaming' after they swept past the Netherlands by seven wickets on Friday to boost their chances of reaching the World Cup semi-finals.

Chasing 180 to win, Afghanistan reached their target with 111 balls to spare to clinch a fourth win at the tournament to add to victories over defending champions England, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

They now have eight points, the same as Australia and New Zealand, who currently occupy two of the semi-final qualifying places.

Undefeated India have already made sure of a last-four spot with South Africa almost certain to join them.

"We are still dreaming and we are still trying our best to make the semi-final. That would be such a big achievement for our country and for me," said Afghanistan skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi.

"A message to our country back home. We know that people are struggling, we are with them. I dedicate this win to them."

Next up for Afghanistan on Tuesday is a potential grudge match against five-time champions Australia.

In January, Australia controversially cancelled a series against Afghanistan in protest, they claimed, at the Taliban's treatment of women.

Rahmat Shah hit his third successive half-century for Afghanistan while Hashmatullah made an undefeated 56, also his third fifty in a row. Hashmatullah's 56 came off 64 balls and followed his 80 against India and 58 in the match with Sri Lanka.

"The fielding and the run chase are both equally pleasing. It is the third time now that we have chased and achieved a target," ssaid Hashmatullah.

"We like to have a target and that helps us play accordingly because we know what we need to do and the situation is clearer for us.

"Mohammad Nabi is a special player. He is so talented and he loves to take responsibility with the ball like he did today. We have good team unity. We are very united and we are always playing for the team and winning for the team."

Veteran off-spinner Nabi, who was man-of-the-match for his 3-28, commented: "When I'm bowling, I'm just focusing on my line and lengths and bowling as many dot balls as I can. That makes the batsmen rush and my consistency helps me be successfull.

"I am happy with how my plans worked today. I'm still working on my fitness, my body is working fine and I still love playing for Afghanistan."

Earlier, Afghanistan restricted error-plagued Netherlands to 179 all out.

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"The run-outs were hard to come back from," admitted Scott Edwards. "They have quality spinners through the middle and we didn't have our top order batters to face them."

Brief scores

Netherlands 179 (46.3 overs): Engelbrecht 58 (86), O'Dowd 42 (40); Nabi 3-28, Noor 2-31

Afghanistan 181-3 (31.3 overs): Hashmatullah 56* (64), Rahmat 52 (54), Azmatullah 31* (28)

Afghanistan won by seven wickets


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