Afghanistan caused another upset in this ICC World Cup 2023 on Monday as they stunned Pakistan by 8 wickets to keep their campaign alive in the tournament in Chennai.
Chasing a challenging target of 283 for victory, Afghanistan rode on superb batting performances from Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi to register their first-ever ODI win over Pakistan after 7 failed attempts in the past.
"Big moment for the whole of Afghanistan. We have played eight games against Pakistan, and won in a big event. It's a lovely moment today. We beat England as well, and now Pakistan. The team is confident now," former skipper Mohammad Nabi said after the match.
Batters deliver for Afghans
Zadran top-scored with 87 while Shah and Shahidi remained unbeaten on 77 and 48 respectively. Gurbaz also contributed majorly towards the victory with a quickfire 65 off 53 balls.
The win was mainly due to the three big partnerships between all four batters who hunted down the target with precision. Gurbaz and Zadran stitched 130 runs for the first wicket before Shah and Zadran added another 60 for the second.
But it was the unbroken 96-run stand between Shah and captain Shahidi which got them over the line with one over to spare.
Giant-killers of CWC 2023
This is the first time Afghanistan have won two matches in an ODI World Cup. Their maiden victory had come against defending champions England in Delhi on October 15.
"That was really special, waited for a long time for this game. Waited for almost 6 years for this. Thank you to all the crowd," Gurbaz said after the win.
Babar leads from front for Pakistan
Earlier, Skipper Babar Azam struck a composed half-century before useful cameos by lower-order batters guided Pakistan to 282 for 7 after opting to bat first at Chepauk.
Opener Abdullah Shafique made 58 off 75 balls and Babar got 74 off 92 balls, but had it not been for the efforts of Iftikhar Ahmed and the returning Shadab Khan, Pakistan would have finished with far less than what they eventually achieved.
While Iftikhar smashed his way to a 27-ball 40, Shadab contributed a breezy 40 in 38 deliveries. For Afghanistan, spinner Noor Ahmad picked up 3 wickets while Naveen-ul-Haq grabbed a couple of scalps.