Cricket World Cup 2023: Afghanistan still have a lot to play for

Their giant-killing streak that has captured the imagination of the cricket-loving world

By Ayaz Memon

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Afghanistan players during a practice session. — AFP
Afghanistan players during a practice session. — AFP

Published: Thu 9 Nov 2023, 8:58 PM

Afghanistan's hopes of making it to the semifinals are almost over after New Zealand's big win over Sri Lanka on Thursday.

But Afghanistan have a lot to play for as they would love to sign off with their fourth big win in the tournament, having beaten England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – all former title winners – in a giant-killing streak that has captured the imagination of the cricket-loving world.

With a little luck – and certainly with better fielding – they could have beaten Australia in Tuesday’s humdinger, and been in a far stronger situation going into the match against the Proteas.

Remember, South Africa had a bummer of a match against India, and would have been down in morale and confidence if they hadn’t already clinched a place in the semis.

What the debacle against India did show, however, was that their top order batting, which has shown monstrous form in quite a few matches, is terribly vulnerable under pressure.

Afghanistan have the bowlers to test the South African batters. The spin quartet of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad and Mohammad Nabi has been exceptional.

The newly growing prowess and success of pace bowlers Naveen-ul-Haq and Azmatullah Omarzai adds more arsenal to the attack.

Then there is Afghanistan’s batting which has surprised everyone with its class, depth and versatility.

It’s well-rounded team which plays with grit, flair and ambition. If the players are able to put the despair of the last defeat and regroup quickly, South Africa will feel the heat too.


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