T20 World Cup: Afghanistan give Uganda a reality check – Hindustan Times

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By, Kolkata

Jun 04, 2024 11:29 AM IST

Openers add 154 before Fazalhaq Farooqi takes maiden five-wicket haul to inflict 125-run thrashing in Providence

Uganda were given a reality check, of what life at the top tier of cricket looks like, after Afghanistan thrashed them by 125 runs in the T20 World Cup in Providence, Guyana on Monday. Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran struck fifties in the second-highest opening stand in T20 World Cup history to help Afghanistan finish on 183/5. Fazalhaq Farooqi then took his maiden five-wicket haul to bowl out Uganda for 58 in 16 overs in this Group C game.

Afghanistan's Fazalhaq Farooqi, left, celebrates with a teammate after taking the wicket of Uganda's Ronak Patel during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Guyana National Stadium in Providence, Guyana(AP)
Afghanistan’s Fazalhaq Farooqi, left, celebrates with a teammate after taking the wicket of Uganda’s Ronak Patel during an ICC Men’s T20 World Cup cricket match at Guyana National Stadium in Providence, Guyana(AP)

“It was the kind of start we wanted as a team,” Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan said. “It does not matter who we play, it is about the mindset. The hard work we have done in the last few weeks, the way the openers started, and the way our bowlers bowled. It was a great overall team effort.”

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The defeat was crushing but Uganda too had their moments in the last six overs of the Afghanistan innings when they took five wickets for 31 runs. Bulk of the damage was however already inflicted by then with Afghanistan cruising to an opening stand of 154. “It was about fighting back and I thought we pulled it back pretty well at the end with the ball,” said Uganda captain Brian Masaba after the match.

Afghanistan will look to utilise this win as a vital warmup for their upcoming league matches. The bowling potential was never in doubt but Afghanistan’s batting needed a boost. And that is exactly what they got after Gurbaz hit 76 off 45 balls and Zadran 70 off 46 deliveries. Their partnership is now the second highest in T20 World Cup history, only after the 170 scored by England’s Jos Buttler and Alex Hales in 2022.

Any hope of Uganda mounting a chase was snuffed out early when Farooqi and Naveen took two wickets each in the Powerplay to peg them at 18/5. It was downhill from thereon but Masaba is still looking forward to make a mark.

“First game at the World Cup, lot of nerves. Good to get that out of the way. We will look to come out and play better next game,” he said.

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