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Afghans clip Kiwi wings, secure 84-run upset win

The decision to bowl after winning the toss backfired on the Black Caps as the Afghans relied on openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s 56-ball 80 and Ibrahim Zadran’s 44 off 41 to post a reasonably good total of 159/6 in the low-scoring tournament.

Afghans clip Kiwi wings, secure 84-run upset win
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Afghanistan players celebrate the dismissal of New Zealand's Daryl Mitchell, right, during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match (PTI)

GEORGETOWN: A determined Afghanistan rode on splendid spells from its skipper Rashid Khan and left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi to stun an under-prepared New Zealand by 84 runs and make a strong case for a Super Eight berth in the T20 World Cup here.

Chasing a tricky 160 at the Providence Stadium here, 2021 runner-up New Zealand was shot out for a lowly 75 in an innings that lasted a mere 15.2 overs with only Glenn Phillips (18) and Matt Henry (12) managing double-digit scores.

The decision to bowl after winning the toss backfired on the Black Caps as the Afghans relied on openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s 56-ball 80 and Ibrahim Zadran’s 44 off 41 to post a reasonably good total of 159/6 in the low-scoring tournament.

Gurbaz was expectedly adjudged player of the match for his knock.

The triumph was a reminder of Afghanistan’s first big upset win in 2016 when it defeated West Indies by six runs in Nagpur after restricting the eventual winner to 117/8 in its defence of 123/7.

Farooqi, who snared five wickets for nine runs against Uganda, returned figures of 17/4 off his 3.2 overs, including the match-sealing dismissal.

Rashid was also lethal as he collected the prized scalp of Kane Williamson (9 off 13) with his first ball. He finished overall figures of 17/4 off his four overs.

It took Afghanistan to four points from two matches, having earlier beaten Uganda by 125 runs.

The West Indies and Uganda occupy the next two spots, while Papua New Guinea and New Zealand are the last two teams which haven’t opened their accounts.

Afghanistan next faces PNG on Friday, while NZ will be up against the co-host West Indies on Thursday.

“One of the greatest performances from us in T20I cricket against a big team,” said Afghan skipper Rashid Khan terming it a “great team effort.”

“The way Ibrahim and Gurbaz started again... The wicket was not easy. They did not throw away their wickets.

“Great win for Afghanistan and it is a privilege to be leading this side and winning against NZ.”

Williamson acknowledged that Afghans “outplayed them”.

“To get a total like that on a fiddly surface, they kept wickets in hand and played it beautifully. Not good enough from us. Quick turnaround, we have to regroup quickly and onto the next challenge,” Williamson said.

Farooqi triggered the New Zealand collapse with the devastating new ball spell.

He first cleaned up opener Finn Allen for a golden duck with his very first ball, a full delivery on middle stump that darted in late, knocking the leg stump out of the ground.

Farooqi followed it up with the wicket of the dangerous Devon Conway in his next over as the Kiwi wicketkeeper-batter chipped a catch to short extra cover.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 159/6 in 20 overs (R Gurbaz 80, I Zadran 44) bt New Zealand 75 in 15.2 overs (F Farooqi 4/17, R Khan 4/17)

Agencies
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