Afghanistan proved to the world that people shouldn't make the mistake of underestimating "small" teams. Afghanistan should not be labelled as underdogs, especially after causing 2 significant upsets in the ICC World Cup 2023.
As far as today's match is concerned, Pakistan won the toss and made the decision to bat first. Watch the entire match highlights on the official ICC World Cup 2023 website: https://www.cricketworldcup.com/video/3749694
Nothing was majorly wrong about Pakistan's opening play; however, after losing a few wickets, the team collapsed as their run rate significantly reduced – all credit goes to the Afghani debutant Noor Ahmad, who took all crucial wickets.
Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan did a phenomenal job in saving Pakistan from a low total. After a strong fight, Pakistan scored 282 runs (282-7), setting a target of 283 for Afghanistan. Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran were absolutely on fire; they were simply unstoppable.
Both batsmen kept hitting high-quality shots against a tough Pakistani bowling lineup. Hasan Ali secured a breakthrough, but it was quite late as Afghanistan caused enough damage. Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi were equally impressive; after hanging in there and displaying courageous batting, they easily chased down the total in 49 overs (286-2) and created history tonight!
This win will be remembered for a lifetime. With this win, Afghanistan keep their hopes alive of claiming a spot in the top 4. Afghanistan will face Sri Lanka next on 30th October.
Hashmatullah Shahidi (Afghanistan's Captain)
"This win tastes nice," Shahidi said, as quoted by cricbuzz.com.
"The way we chased was very professional. Looking forward for the other games. The way we chased today, we'll do it again. The quality cricket that we have been playing from the last couple of years, the belief was there when we were playing the Asia Cup also.
At the start of the tournament, I said that we want to make this tournament historic for our country people. First was England, today Pakistan, looking forward for the other games. We'll try our best to play positive cricket and do a lot for our country in this World Cup.
The spin bowling department did very well. We gave a chance to Noor and trusted in him, he showed his talent. The way Gurbaz and Ibrahim started the innings, they gave that momentum and confidence. The game was in our hand from the beginning till the end.
The last partnership that me and Rahmat played was also good".
Babar Azam (Pakistan's captain)
"This hurts us," Azam said, as quoted by cricbuzz.com. "We had a good total. In the bowling, we aren't up to the mark because we are not taking wickets in the middle overs.
In the World Cup, if you are not good in even one department, then you'll lose the match. In the field, we didn't stop boundaries and gave away runs, that cost us. Bowling - we started well, in the middle overs, we needed wickets but we couldn't take any wickets.
All credit to Afghanistan the way they played in all three departments. That's why they won. We are not playing good cricket in bowling and fielding. We'll try our best in the next match. We didn't hit the lengths in the middle overs, especially our spinners. We couldn't put pressure on the batters".