Rashid, Farooqi, and Gurbaz Shine as Afghanistan Dominates New Zealand in T20 World Cup

Rashid, Farooqi and Gurbaz shine as Afghanistan stuns New Zealand to win their second game of the tournament in the ICC T20 World Cup 2024.

Afghanistan increased their chances of making the Super Eight with yet another convincing victory, this time in Providence by thrashing New Zealand by 84 runs. They defeated Uganda by 125 runs in their first game and now lead Group C with a 5.225 net run rate.

Rashid, Farooqi, and Gurbaz Shine as Afghanistan Dominates New Zealand in T20 World Cup
Fazalhaq Farooqi's early strikes shook New Zealand. ICC/Getty Images

New Zealand 75 (Phillips 18, Rashid 4 for 17, Farooqi 4 for 17) lost to Afghanistan (159 for 6 (Gurbaz 80, Ibrahim 44, Boult 2-22, Henry 2-37) by 84 runs.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran gave Afghanistan a start of 103 in 14.3 overs after being sent in. It followed the pair’s 154 against Uganda, which made them the first opening duo in T20 World Cup history to have two consecutive century stands.

Afghanistan’s innings consisted of two parts. Gurbaz contributed 80 off 56 balls as they scored 55 for no loss in the first ten overs and 104 for 6 in the final ten. With no warm-up games scheduled, New Zealand appeared somewhat out of practice as their fielders lost catches and failed to capitalize on run-out opportunities.

The surface was helping the spinners and seamers equally, so it would not be easy to chase 160. However, very few people anticipated that New Zealand would fall apart the way that it did.

Rashid Khan took three wickets shortly after Fazalhaq Farooqi’s three during the powerplay. After that, both finished with the same 4 for 17, and in the 15.2 overs, New Zealand was bowled out for 75. Only two hitters from New Zealand, Glenn Phillips and Matt Henry, scored in double figures.

Trent Boult opened with a bit of swing, but Gurbaz and Ibrahim made it clear they meant business by hitting Henry three times for four at the opposite end.

Also, both batters were fortunate. When Gurbaz skipped down the track to Santner and missed the ball, which went on to brush the leg stump but the bails remained in place, Gurbaz was given a second chance at life. Finn Allen dropped Ibrahim off Henry at the deep-square-leg boundary in the next over.

But that wasn’t all. Gurbaz was embroiled in a misunderstanding with Ibrahim, which resulted in another reprieve. Gurbaz had to backtrack after going for a single, and if Conway hadn’t botched the throw, he would have been run out.

After two balls, Santner finally appeared to have succeeded when he pinged Ibrahim’s pads, and umpire Kumar Dharmasena declared it leg before wicket. However, as the ball was moving down the leg side, the hitter was able to have the call reversed on review. After that, Afghanistan ended the powerplay on 44 for no loss when Ibrahim hit Santner for an inside-out four.

With two right-hand hitters at the crease, New Zealand defied conventional advice and didn’t bowl an offspinner. Michael Bracewell rewarded their faith by giving up just six runs in his opening two overs.

Lockie Ferguson went for five in his first two, demonstrating even greater thrift. He could have pulled off a slower full throw to Ibrahim, but at mid-off, a leaping Kane Williamson was unable to complete a one-handed stunner. That meant that after 10 overs, Afghanistan had only managed to score 55 runs, but they were still unharmed.

After Afghanistan failed to score a six in the first ten overs, they managed to score five in the next three overs, with three coming in a Bracewell over as Gurbaz and Bracewell applied more pressure. In the fourteenth over, the two helped the team surpass 100. After getting struck on the grille by Henry’s short ball, Ibrahim finally cracked the wicket for New Zealand when he bottom-edged it onto his stumps.

Also Read: USA vs Pakistan Super Over Showdown: A Thrilling Cricket Encounter Unpacked in T20 World Cup

Rashid, Farooqi, and Gurbaz Shine as Afghanistan Dominates New Zealand in T20 World Cup
In his knock, Rahmanullah Gurbaz hit five sixes. ICC/Getty Images

Azmatullah Omarzai, who was moved up to No. 3, contributed with a score of 22 off 13, which featured two sixes in three balls off Henry. Mohammad Nabi was dismissed for a first-ball duck, but Gurbaz was consistently hitting the boundary. But Boult’s three-wicket, three-run last over held Afghanistan to 159.

Afghanistan had a fantastic start with the ball thanks to Farooqi. He removed Finn Allen’s leg stump with the opening delivery of the innings when the ball came in late. Conway pushed at one in the seamer’s following over that appeared to come off the surface more slowly and was captured at more cover.

Additional benefits resulted from the powerplay decision to give Farooqi a third over. This time, he got a length delivery to just straighten and take the outside edge while bowling around the wicket to Daryl Mitchell. Gurbaz finished the dismissal and left New Zealand 28 for 3 with a routine catch.

For New Zealand, it could have been even worse. In between, after the batter had moved over to play a delivery, Naveen-ul-Haq had rapped Kane Williamson’s front pad. Although Afghanistan requested an LBW review, the umpire’s call preserved the captain of New Zealand.

The wait for Williamson’s wicket was not too long for Afghanistan. Following the powerplay, Rashid entered the game and scored immediately after Williamson threw one to first slip. But Rashid was only getting warmed up. He removed Mark Chapman and Bracewell off consecutive deliveries in his next over, leaving New Zealand at 43 for 6. Chapman attempted a pull and was bowled; Bracewell was lbw because he took too long to bring his bat down.

The last hope for New Zealand was Phillips. He did cross a few lines, but when he attempted to challenge Nabi, he was quickly exposed. That put a stop to any thoughts of a New Zealand comeback.

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