In a surprising turn of events, Afghanistan, the lowest-ranked team in the ICC Cricket World Cup, handed Pakistan a significant defeat by eight wickets, making history by winning their first-ever One Day International (ODI) encounter against Pakistan. This outcome, characterized by Pakistan’s dismal performance and a shambolic display of fielding, has raised concerns about Pakistan’s prospects in the ongoing tournament.
Pakistan had initially set a target of 283 runs, but their much-hyped bowling lineup failed to defend it. Afghanistan’s bowlers and extraordinary batting performance, however, ensured they reached their target without much difficulty.
The Pakistan cricket team is reeling from its third consecutive loss in the tournament, marked by an alarming defensive capitulation that is increasingly overshadowing their strengths. While Pakistan still has a chance of making it to the semi-finals, their fate now heavily depends on the results of their remaining four matches against South Africa, Bangladesh, New Zealand, and England.
Afghanistan’s victory was primarily attributed to their spinners’ excellent bowling and the exceptional batting of their top-order players. This historic win against Pakistan marks another upset for Afghanistan after they defeated England, the defending champions, earlier in the tournament.
Following losses to India and Australia, Pakistan’s cricket team is experiencing a disheartening pattern of underperformance. They seem to be caught in a rut, reminiscent of their 2019 World Cup campaign, where they fell short of making the semi-finals.
In the match played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Pakistan’s fielding was also abysmal, with several dropped catches and misfields, which only added to their misery. Prominent players like Shaheen Afridi and Captain Hasan Ali, who scored 77 off 84 balls and 48 off 45 balls, respectively, couldn’t rescue the team from defeat.
Afghanistan’s openers made their intentions clear, putting up a 130-run partnership in 21 overs, providing a solid foundation for their chase. Shahin Afridi’s spell, which ended with figures of 65 runs from 53 balls, did little to stop the Afghan onslaught. Rahmanullah Gurbaz played a key role in Afghanistan’s innings, scoring 87 runs from 113 balls, which included ten boundaries. His partnership of 160 runs with Rahmat Shah turned the tide firmly in Afghanistan’s favor.
The victory against Pakistan underscores Afghanistan’s progress in international cricket and serves as a wake-up call for Pakistan’s struggling team. Pakistan now has limited margin for error in their quest to reach the semi-finals, as their future in the tournament hangs in the balance. Their next few matches will be critical in determining whether they can recover and make a respectable showing in the ICC Cricket World Cup.