The Afghanistan cricket team is riding on a never-give-up attitude as they registered their fourth victory in the tournament after playing seven matches. After getting better of defending champions England, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka an inspired Afghan team clinched their third consecutive victory in the campaign. This result has made it more crucial for Pakistan to emerge victorious against New Zealand on Saturday.
Afghanistan, looking to chase down a paltry total of 180 got off to a flying start but stumbled early, with explosive opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz departing for a score of 10. Grubaz made an attempt to play a pull shot off Logan van Beek’s delivery, appeals from the Netherlands players were echoing around the field, but it was declared as wide by the umpire. Skipper Scott Edwards didn’t waste a moment to take the decision upstairs and DRS reflected a spike as the ball went past the gloves.
Rahmat Shah came in to steady the innings and joined hands with Ibrahim Zadran to stitch up a small partnership. Afghanistan ended the powerplay on a dominant note with a score of 55-1.
But on the very first ball after the powerplay, Zadran lost his wicket on a score of 20 with Van der Merwe picking up his first wicket of the night.
Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi and Shah built an important partnership of 74 runs to steer Afghanistan towards victory. Spinner Saqib Zulfiqar broke the partnership by sending Shah back for a score of 52. A soft dismissal was on the cards as Shah tried to go for a drive shot but ended up playing straight back in the hands of Zulfiqar. The disappointment on his face was enough to reflect the agony of throwing away his wicket.
Shahidid and Azmatullah Omarzai remained unbeaten with scores of 56 and 31 to guide Afghanistan to a comfortable 7-wicket victory. Earlier in the innings, a series of runouts played a major role in Netherlands’ batting collapse. A total of four-run outs took place in the first inning, showcasing the lack of communication between the Dutch batters.
Max ODowd, Colin Ackermann, Sybrand Engelbrecht, and Scott Edwards were the victims of Afghanistan’s brilliant effort in the field. The number of runouts de-railed their innings, which looked promising when Max and Ackermann were on the pitch. They played some beautiful shots, showed composure, and took on the bowlers whenever the opportunity came knocking at their door.
However, after the event of four runouts unfolded, they were hardly left with batters who could take their innings deep and post a competitive total on the board. All-rounder Mohammad Nabi was sensational with the ball as he scalped three wickets after conceding just 28 runs in 9.3 overs.
Brief Score: Netherlands 179 (Sybrand Engelbrecht 58, Max ODowd 42; Mohammad Nabi 3-28) vs Afghanistan 181-3 (Hashmatullah Shahidi 56*, Rahmat Shah 52; Saqib Zulfiqar 1-25).