Men’s ODI WC: Afghanistan skipper hopes historic win against England raises confidence for upcoming games

New Delhi: Afghanistan skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi has hailed his team’s upset win over the defending champions England in the ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 as the “best win” his country’s cricket history and it gives them confidence in the upcoming games.

Afghanistan defeated England by 69 runs to cause the biggest upset in the ongoing Cricket World Cup to liven up the proceedings that had been going the traditional powers’ way so far. Asked to bat first, Afghanistan posted a challenging score of 284 and then restricted England to 215 all out in 40.3 overs for a memorable victory.

Shahidi said this is the best win for his country in cricket. “I am quite happy and all my teammates are happy. This was the best win. The confidence will be there for the next game and the whole country will be happy and proud with this win,” said he.

He further said his team did not finish well in the last couple of games and managing that against England gives his team a lot of confidence. “The belief is there, the trust is there and the talent is also there. (In the) Last couple of games, we did not finish well. Looking forward to the rest of the tournament. Hopefully, we can be positive. This was the first win for us (since 2015 in the World Cup) but not the last one,” Shahidi said.

The Afghanistan captain gave a lot of credit for the win to his openers who set up the foundation for the win. Rahmanullah Gurbaz (80) and Ibrahim Zadran (28) raised 114 runs for the opening partnership. However, Shahidi was concerned by the loss of two quick wickets and said they would have to think about that as it was happening again.

“Unfortunately, we had back-to-back wickets again today. We have to think about that. We had a good start and credit goes to Gurbaz for that. (On Ikram) He was with us for the last two years but did not get too many chances. He and the coach believed in him and we appreciate his effort,” he said.

Shahidi was also happy with young spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who hammered a 16-ball 28 lower down the order and then claimed 3-51 of his 10 overs, turning out to be a good all-rounder.

“I think, yes. Against Pakistan in Sri Lanka, he batted beautifully. Today, he scored important runs for us,” he said.

The 28-year-old said his batters will have to score runs for the spinners to come into the picture.

“We have to score runs for that (for them to have an impact). The whole world knows how good they are. I am very proud of them today. Fazal (Fazalhaq Farooqi) started very well, along with Mujeeb. That (Jos Bairstow) wicket was very important. I realised the wicket was not supporting the batters when batting against the spinners. When I went to the pavilion, I felt 280-290 would be enough on this track.

The Afghanistan team’s fans will now hope that their team will continue to grow stronger and stronger and make it to the knockout round. That will be a bigger bang than the one they caused on Sunday against England. – IANS

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