Gurbaz, Rashid star in Afghanistan’s crushing win over New Zealand

Guyana, June 8 (UNI) Afghanistan showcased their cricketing prowess in a stunning display against New Zealand, securing an overwhelming 84-run victory in the T20 World Cup 2024 on Saturday. Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s scintillating 80 runs set a solid foundation, while Rashid Khan’s exceptional bowling dismantled the New Zealand batting lineup, ensuring Afghanistan’s second consecutive win and placing them firmly at the top of Group C with 4 points and an impressive net run rate.

Opting to field first after winning the toss, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson hoped to capitalize on early morning conditions. However, Afghanistan’s openers had different plans. Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran put on a masterclass in batting, steadily building a 103-run partnership. Zadran, playing a supportive role, eventually fell, but not before setting a solid foundation.

Gurbaz, who has been a standout performer throughout the tournament, continued his stellar form, smashing his second consecutive half-century. His knock of 80 runs was a blend of aggression and precision, anchoring Afghanistan to a respectable total of 159.

New Zealand’s chase of 160 started on a shaky note and quickly unraveled as Afghan bowlers exhibited exceptional control and skill. The Kiwis struggled to build any substantial partnerships, losing wickets at regular intervals.

Pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi struck early, setting the tone for the Afghan defense. Skipper Rashid Khan then weaved his magic, taking 4 wickets for a mere 16 runs in his four overs. His leg-spin was mesmerizing, leaving the New Zealand batsmen in knots. Mohammad Nabi complemented the attack with two crucial wickets, ensuring New Zealand was bundled out for a paltry 75 runs.

Rashid Khan’s captaincy was as impressive as his bowling. His tactical acumen and ability to inspire his team under pressure have been pivotal in Afghanistan’s success. “It’s a proud moment for the team and the country,” Rashid remarked post-match. “The boys have worked hard, and we are seeing the results. The focus now is to maintain this momentum.”

With this emphatic win, Afghanistan has sent a strong message to the rest of the teams in the tournament. Their top position in Group C is well-deserved, reflecting their all-round strength and strategic brilliance. The team’s unity and collective effort have been the cornerstone of their success so far.

New Zealand, on the other hand, will need to regroup quickly. Captain Kane Williamson acknowledged the need for introspection and improvement. “We didn’t execute our plans well today. Full credit to Afghanistan for their performance. We need to learn from this and bounce back stronger.”

As the T20 World Cup progresses, Afghanistan’s blend of youthful exuberance and experienced leadership makes them a formidable contender. Fans worldwide are witnessing the rise of a new powerhouse in international cricket, with each match bringing them closer to their dream of World Cup glory.

With their spirits high and eyes on the prize, Afghanistan is set to continue their thrilling journey in the T20 World Cup 2024, promising more exciting cricket and memorable performances.


Afghanistan: 159/4 in 20 overs (Gurbaz 80, Zadran 35; Southee 2/28)

New Zealand: 75 all out in 15.2 overs (Williamson 22, Phillips 19; Rashid 4/16, Farooqi 4/21)

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