Afghanistan gives New Zealand a beating!

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Georgetown: Afghanistan made a huge statement at the ICC Men’s T20I World Cup in Guyana by comprehensively defeating New Zealand, one of the heavyweights of the tournament by 84 runs in the Group C match, here at the Providence Stadium.

New Zealand, known for their consistent performances and strong fielding, surprisingly faltered in the field after winning the toss and opting to bowl first, a decision influenced by the looming threat of wet weather. The Kiwis’ night off started with several critical errors, including a missed stumping and a clumsy runout from keeper Devon Conway, in addition to a dropped catch at deep back square leg. These mistakes allowed the Afghan openers to capitalize and lay a solid foundation.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz was the standout with the bat, reaching his second fifty of the tournament and scoring a whopping 80 off 56 balls. Ibrahim Zadran provided excellent support with a handy 44 from 41 deliveries, while Azmatullah Omarzai contributed a quick 22 from just 13 balls. Lockie Ferguson eventually broke the partnership by catching Omarzai, but the damage was already done. Afghanistan managed to reach 150 within 19 overs and ended their innings at 159/6 after New Zealand restricted their score in the final over.

Chasing 160, New Zealand’s batting line-up crumbled under the pressure exerted by the Afghan bowlers. Fazalhaq Farooqi put in a sensational performance, taking 4 wickets for just 17 runs in his 3.2 overs. His early strikes, including key wickets of Finn Allen, Devon Conway and Daryl Mitchell, left New Zealand reeling.

Rashid Khan then took center stage and removed New Zealand captain Kane Williamson with his very first ball. Khan’s devastating spell saw him claim four wickets for 17 runs in his four overs, including a catch and bowler to dismiss Ferguson. The relentless attack from the Afghan bowlers left New Zealand with no chance to build momentum, with Glenn Phillips’ run-a-ball 18 being the highest score for the Kiwis.

Brief score: Afghanistan 159 for 6 in 20 overs (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 80, Ibrahim Zadran 44; Trent Boult 3 2-22, Matt Henry 2-37) defeated New Zealand by 75 all out in 15.2 overs (Glenn Philips 18 ; Fazalhaq Farooqi 4-17, Rashid Khan 4-17) with 84 runs. IANS

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