T20 World Cup: Afghanistan hammer New Zealand by 84 runs in ‘historic’ win | Cricket News – The Times of India

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In a stunning upset at the Guyana National Stadium on Friday, Afghanistan dominated a lackluster New Zealand, claiming the top spot in Group C at the T20 World Cup with an emphatic 84-run victory, which is also their first ever against the Kiwis in T20 internationals.
Chasing a challenging target of 160, New Zealand faltered, collapsing to 75 all out in 15.2 overs.

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Rahmanullah Gurbaz set the stage for Afghanistan with a commanding 80 off 56 balls, supported by Ibrahim Zadran’s 44, as they amassed 159 for six after being put in to bat. Their opening partnership of 103 by the 15th over laid a solid foundation for their challenging total.
Fazalhaq Farooqi, continuing his stellar performance from the opening match against Uganda, wreaked havoc on the New Zealand batting lineup, claiming four crucial wickets for just 17 runs.

Captain Rashid Khan, the champion leg-spinner, mirrored Farooqi’s figures, also taking four wickets for 17 runs, including a pivotal dismissal of Kane Williamson with his first ball, effectively sealing the fate of the match.
“We’ve been waiting for this moment for about three years,” said a delighted ‘Player of the Match’ Gurbaz. “We have the trust and belief that we can beat any team in this competition on this type or surface. At the start of the innings our target was around 130-140 and we played our part in getting there, but credit must go to the bowlers as well. To do this against a team like New Zealand…it’s unbelievable”.
New Zealand’s evident collapse and apparent lack of form present a daunting task for the 2021 finalists as they gear up to face hosts West Indies at the Brian Lara Stadium in Trinidad next Wednesday.
“This just wasn’t good enough in terms of starting a tournament. It’s very frustrating,” admitted Williamson, reflecting on a forgettable night for New Zealand cricket.
“We have to move on quickly from this because the matches now come thick and fast for us. Yes, we have to learn from so much that went wrong without over-analysing, but we have to turn it around as quickly as we can,” he added.
Williamson’s somber demeanor stood in sharp contrast to his Afghanistan counterpart Rashid, who provided a perspective on the result.
“It is one of the greatest performances for us in T20’s against a big team like New Zealand,” said Rashid. “And it was great team effort, from the opening stand between Gurbaz and Ibrahim to the bowlers to the effort in the field from everyone. It’s a great feeling to be leading this side.”
While his bowling performance was commendable, the captain chose to highlight Farooqi’s remarkable impact, noting his nine-wicket haul in the first two matches of the World Cup.
Farooqi made a perfect start against the Black Caps, dismissing Finn Allen comprehensively with the very first ball of the New Zealand innings.
“He is a very skilful bowler, but there’s still lots of areas to improve,” Rashid cautioned. “Once he understands how skilful he really is he will be very dangerous in the future.”
(With AFP inputs)

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