afghanistan in super 8 of t20 world cup 2024

The 2024 T20 World Cup has witnessed a major upset, with Afghanistan emerging as the unlikely heroes. Their emphatic seven-wicket victory over Papua New Guinea (PNG) on Thursday not only secured their place in the coveted Super Eights stage but also sent shockwaves through the tournament by knocking out pre-tournament favorites, New Zealand.

Farooqi Takes Center Stage

Afghanistan’s triumph was orchestrated by their bowling attack, spearheaded by the exceptional Fazalhaq Farooqi. He lived up to his reputation as the tournament’s leading wicket-taker, adding another three scalps to his tally. PNG’s batting woes began early with their captain, Assad Vala, being run out in a careless fashion, setting the tone for a shaky batting display. Farooqi’s incisive bowling, coupled with two more run-outs, saw PNG precariously placed at 50/7 by the 13th over.

While credit must be given to the Papuans for their fighting spirit, exemplified by Doriga and Nao’s 38-run partnership, Farooqi remained dominant. His crucial wicket of Nao ensured PNG could only manage a paltry 95 runs in their allotted overs.

I just keep it simple and stay with my strengths,” said Farooqi after receiving the ‘Man of the Match‘ award. “If conditions are helpful for me I’m going for wickets. We just want to keep on giving 100 percent in every match we play.

They are a really good bowling unit and to give them four easy wickets , especially mine, which was a bit lazy, didn’t help,” said a remorseful Vala. “I’m really happy though with the way our bowlers have been going. Even though we haven’t put enough runs on the board to help them the execution of their skills and their planning has been outstanding.

A Captain’s Performance and Adaptability Shine

Afghanistan’s captain, Rashid Khan, was rightfully proud of his team’s performance. He lauded their ability to adapt to the conditions and their clear understanding of their roles within the team. This adaptability was crucial, especially considering they lost both openers cheaply for the first time in the tournament.

Despite the early loss of their openers, Afghanistan’s middle order displayed grit and determination. Gulbadin Naib, dropped on nine by the PNG wicketkeeper, seized the opportunity and played a match-winning knock of 49 runs. His unbeaten 46-run partnership with Mohammad Nabi ensured Afghanistan chased down the target comfortably in the 16th over, securing their third consecutive victory.

New Zealand’s Shocking Elimination

This victory marks a significant moment in Afghan cricket. Their dominant performance not only strengthens their position as potential dark horses in the tournament but also throws the race for the Super Eights wide open. The biggest casualty of this upset is undoubtedly New Zealand. Despite having two games remaining in the group stage, their elimination at the hands of a resurgent Afghanistan is a major blow to their World Cup aspirations.

Looking Ahead: Afghanistan’s Momentum and Farooqi’s Domination

Riding a wave of momentum with three consecutive wins and boasting the tournament’s leading wicket-taker, Afghanistan presents a formidable challenge in the Super Eights stage. Their adaptability, strong bowling attack, and determined batting lineup make them a team to watch in the coming rounds. The cricketing world eagerly awaits to see if they can continue their impressive run and potentially cause further upsets.

Afghanistan captain Rashid was particularly pleased with the adaptability of his team.

Our players have understood their roles in the team and, more importantly, have been able to adjust quickly to the conditions,” he stated, before praising another fine performance by Farooqi.

His way of attacking with each and every ball allows us to have a strong base as a bowling unit. In T20 cricket, I think it’s better the more you attack as a bowling unit if the conditions are in your favour.

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