Sports & Games

Pakistan Suffer Shock Defeat to Afghanistan in Chennai

Afghanistan pulled off a sensational upset by beating Pakistan by eight wickets in the 22nd match of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Chasing a challenging target of 283, Afghanistan rode on brilliant half-centuries from Ibrahim Zadran (87)Rahmat Shah (77)* and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (65) to overhaul the score with six balls to spare. Hashmatullah Shahidi (48)* also played a crucial knock to seal the historic win for the Afghans.

This was Afghanistan’s first ever win over Pakistan in ODIs and their second win of the tournament. They moved up to sixth position in the points table with four points from five games. Pakistan, on the other hand, slipped to fifth spot with four points from five games and their chances of making it to the semifinals took a major blow.

Earlier, Pakistan captain Babar Azam won the toss and opted to bat first on a flat pitch. He led from the front with a fluent 74 off 92 balls and added 97 runs for the third wicket with opener Abdullah Shafique, who scored a well-made 58 off 75 balls.

However, Pakistan lost their way in the middle overs as Afghanistan’s teenage leg spinner Noor Ahmad struck twice to remove Shafique and Mohammad Rizwan (8) in quick succession. He finished with impressive figures of 3/48 in his debut game of the competition.

Pakistan were reduced to 163/4 in the 33rd over and needed some acceleration from their lower-middle order. Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan provided some impetus with a brisk 40-run stand for the sixth wicket. Both batsmen scored 40 runs each off 27 and 38 balls respectively.

Pakistan managed to post a respectable total of 282/7 in their allotted 50 overs. Apart from Noor, Naveen-ul-Haq also bowled well for Afghanistan and picked up two wickets for 52 runs in his seven overs.

Afghanistan started their chase confidently with Ibrahim and Gurbaz putting on a scintillating opening partnership of 130 runs in just 15.3 overs. Gurbaz was the aggressor as he smashed nine fours and a six in his 53-ball knock.

Pakistan got their first breakthrough when Shaheen Shah Afridi dismissed Gurbaz for 65 in the 16th over. He also got rid of Ibrahim, who became the fastest to score 1000 runs for Afghanistan in ODIs, for 87 in the 32nd over.

However, that was the last success for Pakistan as Rahmat and Shahidi batted sensibly and calmly to guide Afghanistan home. Rahmat hit five fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 84-ball innings while Shahidi struck four fours in his 45-ball knock.

Ibrahim was named the player of the match for his match-winning knock.

Pakistan will now face South Africa at the same venue on October 27 while Afghanistan will take on Sri Lanka on October 30 in Lucknow.

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