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Why Afghanistan’s Victory Over New Zealand in T20 World Cup 2024 Isn’t Surprising

Why Afghanistan's Victory Over New Zealand in T20 World Cup 2024 Isn't Surprising

June 8, 2024, marked a historic day for Afghan cricket as Afghanistan clinched a significant victory over New Zealand in the T20 World Cup. The triumph was their first against the Kiwis in T20I cricket, and the emphatic 84-run win solidified Afghanistan’s top position in Group C. While many viewed this as a groundbreaking achievement, closer examination reveals that Afghanistan’s victory was not a surprise but a testament to their growing prowess in international cricket. Here, we explore three key reasons why Afghanistan’s win was expected.


Afghanistan’s recent cricketing success, particularly in limited-overs formats, has been heavily influenced by their evolving batting lineup. Historically known for their spin bowlers, Afghanistan has developed a formidable batting unit capable of taking on the world’s best.


Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran create an electrifying opening duo. Gurbaz’s aggressive stroke play complements Zadran’s steadiness, creating a solid foundation at the top of the order. Against New Zealand, both openers demonstrated maturity by negotiating early pressure and capitalizing on loose deliveries.


The middle order, featuring Azmatullah Omarzai, provides a blend of aggression and adaptability. Omarzai’s ability to shift gears depending on the match situation makes him a critical asset. His performance in challenging conditions, like those in Guyana, showcases his growing importance in the lineup.


The presence of experienced campaigners like Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, and Karim Janat offers Afghanistan a trio of power hitters who can turn matches around in the death overs. Their ability to consistently clear boundaries and their experience in pressure situations provide the team with the firepower needed to post or chase down competitive totals.


In their match against New Zealand, Afghanistan’s batting strategy was evident. They mixed aggression with cautious play, adapting to the conditions and the opposition’s bowling attack, ultimately posting a challenging total of 159 runs. This balanced approach reflects their enhanced batting depth and strategic planning.


Afghanistan’s bowling attack has always been their strong suit, and their performance against New Zealand was a testament to their capability and cohesion as a unit. The team bowled out the Kiwis for a paltry 75 runs, highlighting their dominance.


The resurgence of Afghanistan’s pace bowling has been instrumental in their recent success. Fazalhaq Farooqi has stood out with an impressive nine wickets in only two matches. His ability to take early wickets, as seen with the first-ball dismissal of Finn Allen, sets the tone for the rest of the innings. Naveen-ul-Haq’s contributions in the middle overs further strengthen their pace attack, ensuring pressure is maintained throughout the innings.


Afghanistan’s spin arsenal is one of the most feared in world cricket. Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi lead the charge, supported by Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Noor Ahmad. Although Mujeeb was absent in the match against New Zealand, Rashid and Nabi filled the void with their exceptional spells. Rashid Khan, in particular, has been a game-changer, consistently picking up crucial wickets and stifling the opposition’s scoring rate.


The combination of a lethal spin attack and an emerging pace battery gives Afghanistan a balanced and versatile bowling lineup. This versatility allows them to adapt to different conditions and opponents, making them a formidable force in any match.


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