Men’s ODI WC: ‘I was waiting badly to beat them’, says Gurbaz after Afghanistan stun Pakistan

Chennai: Afghanistan young opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz has shared that their team was resolute in breaking their streak of ODI losses against Pakistan ahead of their record-breaking run-chase and said that “he was waiting badly” to beat the neighbours.

Afghanistan clinched their first-ever ODI triumph over Pakistan when they chased down a target of 283 for the loss of only two wickets at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 on Monday at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. This was their highest-ever chase in ODI history.

The stunning victory snapped a seven-match losing streak for Afghanistan against Pakistan in ODIs stretching back to their first encounter in the format in 2012.

Gurbaz hailed this rousing triumph over their ODI nemesis as “really special”.

“So happy. Big win. That was really special, waiting for a long time for this game. Wow!” Gurbaz told the ICC after the victory. Six-seven years we were waiting for this kind of game. Whenever we faced them, they always beat us. That was the first time that we beat them,” the 21-year-old told ICC.

In the 2019 Cricket World Cup, Afghanistan came tantalizingly close to defeating Pakistan, but in the end, they lost a nail-biting encounter in the final over by just three wickets with only two balls to spare.

The competition between the two teams became even more intense during a recent tri-series, where Pakistan managed to secure a victory by just one wicket on the penultimate delivery. However, it’s worth noting that Afghanistan had previously struggled to match Pakistan’s performance in five other ODI matches.

“Back home, everyone is so happy, we know that. So excited! I was waiting since the last World Cup that we lost against them, and then the Asia Cup, and then the tri-series. I was waiting badly to beat them,” Gurbaz added.

The 21-year-old Gurbaz was pivotal to Afghanistan’s victory with a blazing 65 from 53 balls in a 130-run opening stand alongside Ibrahim Zadran that set up the record-breaking chase.

Rahmat Shah, who scored an unbeaten 77 off 84 deliveries and shared an unbeaten 86-run partnership for the third wicket with skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi (48 not out), who played a key role as Afghanistan reached 286/2 in 49 overs after restricting Pakistan to 282/7 in 50 overs.

This is Afghanistan’s second upset in this tournament after they stunned defending champions England by 69 runs a few days back.

Monday’s win takes Afghanistan to four points in the team standings, the same as Australia and Pakistan. They can now turn their focus toward a semifinal surge starting in their next match against Sri Lanka on October 30.

IANS

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