Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Rashid Khan hammer New Zealand as Afghanistan script monumental upset over New Zealand – Hindustan Times

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Jun 08, 2024 09:23 AM IST

Afghanistan skittled New Zealand for just 75 from 15.2 overs and bowled their team to a 84-run run victory.

Afghanistan’s bowlers put on a masterclass at the Providence Stadium on Friday, taking full advantage of a pitch that offered both pace and spin. They completely dismantled the New Zealand batting lineup, restricting them to a meagre 75 runs in just 15.2 overs and completing an 84-run win. This dominant bowling performance secured a convincing 84-run victory for Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup.

Afghanistan's captain Rashid Khan celebrates the wicket of New Zealand's Mark Chapman(AP)
Afghanistan’s captain Rashid Khan celebrates the wicket of New Zealand’s Mark Chapman(AP)

This win marked Afghanistan’s second decisive victory in the tournament. Earlier in the week, they had thrashed Uganda by a massive 125 runs at the same venue. With this win, they have firmly established themselves at the top of Group C.

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New Zealand captain Kane Williamson made the surprising decision to bowl first, allowing Afghanistan to set a total. Their openers, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (80 runs) and Ibrahim Zadrau (44 runs), capitalized on this opportunity, building a solid partnership of 103 runs for the first wicket in just 14.3 overs.

Left-arm pacer Trent Boult opened the bowling for New Zealand, with Lockie Ferguson at the other end. However, Zadrau got off to a flying start, smashing three boundaries in a row off Boult, with some luck involved as two of them were streaky shots that found the gaps.

Zadrau was fortunate to receive a reprieve early on, when a lofted hook found Finn Allen at the square leg boundary. However, with the lights making visibility difficult, Allen dropped the catch, giving Zadrau a second life. Gurbaz also enjoyed some luck, escaping a run-out when Devon Conway failed to collect the throw behind the stumps.

Afghanistan’s dominance truly unfolded with their bowling attack

Despite the early struggles with the dropped catches, New Zealand might have felt cautiously optimistic at the halfway stage with Afghanistan on a decent score of 55 for 2. However, the tide turned dramatically as the openers accelerated. Zadrau launched two sixes off Michael Bracewell, while Gurbaz did the same against Boult upon his return.

New Zealand finally managed a breakthrough when Matt Henry dismissed Zadrau. Henry added another wicket shortly after, removing Azmatullah Omarzai caught by Lockie Ferguson. Boult then returned to clean up the tail, taking two wickets and a run-out in the final over.

New Zealand’s batting woes began immediately as they lost their opener Finn Allen to the very first ball of the innings. Fazalhaq Farooqi delivered a beauty, a ball that jagged back off the seam and sent Allen’s leg stump flying.

The misery continued for New Zealand as Devon Conway and Daryl Mitchell departed cheaply, leaving them reeling at a precarious 28 for 3. Rashid Khan, Afghanistan’s spin maestro, then took center stage, dismantling the remaining New Zealand batting order. He dismissed Mark Chapman and Michael Bracewell in quick succession, followed by Kane Williamson caught at slip. New Zealand’s resistance finally crumbled, and they were bundled out for a mere 75 runs, their second-lowest total ever in a T20 match.

(With inputs from AFP)

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