Afghanistan are out to make it a historic 50-over World Cup in India and their shock eight-wicket victory against former champions Pakistan on Monday reflected that philosophy, skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi said.
Shahidi’s men went into the match against 1992 winners Pakistan as the tournament’s bottom team, whose lone triumph in four previous matches was a seismic upset of holders England.
Afghanistan proved that victory was no flash in the pan and pulled off another shock success after their top order fired in a clinical chase against Pakistan.
“This win tastes nice,” Shahidi said. “The way we chased was very professional and the way we did that will help us going into our other games now.”
There was no signs of any nerves as Afghanistan clinically chased down a 283-run victory target with one over to spare.
“We always had belief and at the start of the tournament I told my team I wanted to make it a historic one for our country and our people,” Shahidi said.
“We did that against England and now today against Pakistan.
“We are looking forward to playing positive cricket in our next games.”
Ibrahim Zadran (87) and Rahmat Shah, who made 77 not out, braved cramps to fuel their chase but Shahidi was also impressed with the performance of teenage spinner Noor Ahmad, who claimed 3-49 in a dream World Cup debut.
“Our bowling was very good, especially our spinners. We gave Noor a chance and trusted his talent.”
Zadran, who forged a 130-run opening stand with Rahmanullah Gurbaz (65), said his knock was the result of his positive approach.
“In this kind of big event this is so big for me. I’m feeling very proud of myself and for my country,” the batter said.
“Gurbaz and I have put on a lot of good partnerships together. We have played together since we were 16, so we always have good communication.” — Reuters.