Afghanistan had qualified directly for the Super 12 stage of the 2021 T20 World Cup courtesy of their ICC rankings, but could not qualify further.
The team had a resounding start to their 2021 T20 World Cup campaign as they demolished Scotland by 113 runs in their first match of the competition. The team piled on 190 runs courtesy of brilliant knocks from HazratullahZazai, RahmanullahGurbaz and Najibullah Zadran.
In reply, the Afghanistan spinners proved to be tough to handle for the Scotland batting. Mujeeb Ur Rahman was their leading wicket taker as he picked up a 5 wicket haul from his 4 overs while conceding just 20 runs.
Rashid Khan bowled just 2.2 overs and that was enough for him to take 4 wickets.
Failed to ride momentum
This is what captain Mohammad Nabi had to say after the team’s first victory in the T20 World Cup.
“It’s important to win at the start of the tournament. This was our plan, to bat first and post a big total. Both the openers started well, we finished the powerplay on a good note. The running between the wickets was good, we rotated the strike really well and Najib played well to help post such a big total. The world knows we have some good spinners in the form of Rashid and Mujeeb, they’ve played everywhere in the world. We have a very good team combination.”
Despite all their best efforts, Afghanistan went on to lose against Pakistan, India and New Zealand to crash out of the tournament.
In fact, they had an outside chance of qualifying to the semis if they beat New Zealand by a big margin in the last match but the team lost the game by 8 wickets and was knocked out of the competition.
Taking away positives
This is what captain Mohammad Nabi said in his last post match presentation of the World Cup.
“It was our plan to bat first and put a decent total on the board. We didn’t start well, early wickets slowed us down, we built partnerships but didn’t finish well. Our bowling is strong, but we didn’t get a good total. The pitch wasn’t helpful either. We tried our best and bowled really well in this game. We have a lot of experience playing in the UAE, we played good cricket and we take a lot of positives from this tournament. Hopefully we work on our mistakes and do better in the upcoming matches.”