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CWC 2023, AFG vs PAK: Afghanistan top-order's exemplary batting stuns Pakistan

CWC 2023, Afghanistan vs Pakistan: Noor Ahmad's 3-49, Rahmat Shah's 77 and Rahmanullah Gurbaz - Ibrahim Zadran's 130-run stand are top performances. Afghanistan beat Pakistan by 8 wickets and register 2nd win of the ODI World Cup 2023.

CWC 2023, Afghanistan vs Pakistan: Afghanistan beat Pakistan and secure 2nd win of ODI World Cup | Walking Wicket (Photo: ©ACBOfficials/Twitter)
Afghanistan beat Pakistan and secure 2nd win of CWC 2023 (Photo: ©ACBOfficials/Twitter)

Brief Score - Afghanistan - 286/2 (I. Zadran 87, Rahmat Shah - 77, H. Ali - 1/44) beat Pakistan - 282/7 (Babar Azam 74, A. Shafique 58, Noor Ahmad 3/49) by 8 wickets.

Player of the match - Ibrahim Zadran (87 off 113)

Afghanistan created history by beating Pakistan for the first time in ODI cricket. After enduring two tough losses in their previous encounters, Pakistan faced Afghanistan, who are confident after beating defending champions England at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. On the other hand, Pakistan has yet again been let down by their bowling, causing them their third loss in a row.

Coming into this match, the Babar Azam-led Pakistan are in deep trouble after losing back-to-back matches against India & Australia. On the other hand, despite losing to New Zealand, Afghanistan is high on confidence after defeating England.

Pakistan still doesn’t look very settled as they continue to face problems in their bowling department. Though their batters did well today, they must be more consistent in moving further in the big event. Nevertheless, Afghanistan has a solid bowling line-up that took advantage of the conditions at Chepauk. Additionally, the Afghan openers have improved a lot and again managed to give their side a solid start against Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Pakistan holds the edge over Afghanistan in the overall head-to-head record in ODIs. The two teams have met seven times previously, with Pakistan always winning.

Talking Point from Pakistan vs Afghanistan, Chennai, CWC 2023

Pakistan spinners are colorless in the ongoing tournament

While the Pakistan batting failed against India, their bowling has left a lot to be desired. Pakistan bowlers failed to perform against Afghanistan again, causing them their third consecutive loss. Their spinners struggled to live up to expectations. The Pakistan spin department failed to take a single wicket on the spinning track in India, where the opposition spinners did well and took crucial wickets. Spinner Shadab Khan & Usama Mir have not been effective in either taking wickets or controlling the flow of runs. This has been a major factor in Pakistan's inability to dominate their opponents during the middle overs. Failure of their spin unit is now a big concern for the team management to look into it.

Noor Ahmad’s brilliant bowling & the openers assisted Afghanistan

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam won the toss and decided to bat first. Openers Imam & Shafique gave Pakistan a good start as the pair added 56 runs for the open wicket before Omarzai removed Imam. Subsequently, captain Babar and Shafique kept things ticking forward before young spinner Noor Ahmad broke their 104-run stand. Shafique played well and contributed with 58 runs before getting out. Alongside him, the Pakistan skipper Babar Azam played a much-needed captain’s knock, scoring 74 runs before getting dismissed by Ahmad. Shadab Khan played a good innings of 40 runs, providing some crucial runs. A late blitz by Iftikhar at the end of the first innings, as he played a quick cameo of 40 runs in just 27 balls, made all the difference to the outcome.

After some early wickets, the Afghan bowlers lost complete control, conceding 282 runs. As a result, Pakistan finished strong with a decent total. Young spinner Noor Ahmad, who made his World Cup debut, was the only successful bowler for Afghanistan.

In the second, Afghanistan got the start they wanted as their openers began on a strong note in the chase of 283 runs. The opening duo of Gurbaz and Zadran had a record 130-run stand between them. Pakistan's skipper tried six different bowlers to break the opening partnership before Afridi finally got the wicket of Gurbaz. Later, Rahmat Shah supported the team with his balanced 77 runs knock and controlled the innings parallel to skipper Shahidi taking their side to a historic victory. Pakistan bowlers looked clueless while bowling to Afghan batters dominating the game.

Top three performances from the Pakistan vs Afghanistan game in CWC 2023

CWC 2023, Afghanistan vs Pakistan_ Noor Ahmad took 3-49 against Pakistan in chennai _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©ACBOfficials_Twitter)
Ahmad took 3-49 against Pakistan in Chennai (Photo: ©ACBOfficials/Twitter)
Noor Ahmad took three crucial wickets on World Cup debut

The 18-year-old Afghanistan left-arm-wrist-spinner Noor Ahmad made a fantastic World Cup debut against Pakistan. He was brought into the team for the first time and bowled an excellent spell in the match. He took three big wickets of Shafique, in-form Rizwan & Pakistan captain Babar Azam. The Afghanistan spinner took full advantage of the conditions in Chennai. The wrist spinner was outstanding and rose in the high-octane match.

CWC 2023, Afghanistan vs Pakistan_ Rahmanullah Gurbaz-Ibrahim Zadran put up 130-run stand against Pakistan _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©ACBOfficials_Twitter)
Gurbaz-Zadran put up 130-run stand against Pakistan (Photo: ©ACBOfficials/Twitter)
Gurbaz & Zadran's record 130-run opening stand

Afghanistan got a perfect start while chasing a big total of 283. Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran gave a solid platform for their side in the steep chase. The duo looked in superb form against the tough Pakistan bowlers. They scored runs along the ground, playing some perfect cricketing shots. A cracking knock from Zadran helped him bring his fifth ODI half-century, whereas a superb effort from young Gurbaz led him to his fourth ODI fifty. The record 130-run stand between these two helped Afghanistan chase the big total and cause their second big upset in the ongoing World Cup by defeating Pakistan.

Rahmat Shah stood till the end

Another superb effort came from Rahmat Shah in the historic win and the opening duo. He smashed an outstanding 77 runs, standing tall till the end. The experienced Afghan batter raised his 24th ODI half-century. He kept Afghanistan on track after losing both the openers. Rahmat Shah’s impressive knock, besides both the openers & skipper Shahidi, completely dominated the game from the start till the end.

Statistical Highlights from Netherlands vs Sri Lanka, Lucknow CWC 2023
  • Afghanistan spinner Noor Ahmad got his best bowling figures of 3/49 in ODI.

  • The opening stand of 130 runs between Gurbaz & Zadran is Afghanistan’s second-best partnership for any wicket in the ODI World Cup.

  • This stand is Afghanistan’s highest-opening partnership in an ODI World Cup.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 Points Table
ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 Points Table
Points Table after Pakistan vs Afghanistan
Points Table Scenario & What's Next

With their historic win & second major upset of the tournament, Afghanistan is currently in 6th position with 4 points, just below Pakistan, who are currently at 5th spot with 4 points and NRR of -0.400. South Africa will take on Bangladesh in the next match of CWC 2023 on October 24 at the iconic Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.

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