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Hashmatullah Shahidi wants middle-order to take more responsibility

Last updated on 17 Oct 2023 | 01:08 PM
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Hashmatullah Shahidi wants middle-order to take more responsibility

Afghanistan have managed scores of 156, 272 and 284 in this event, but most of the runs have come from the top-order

Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi is satisfied with how Afghanistan’s top-order has performed in the ongoing World Cup but wants his middle-order batters to take more “responsibility”. Afghanistan have managed scores of 156, 272 and 284 in this event, but the majority of the runs have come from the top-order.

They were 112/2 against Bangladesh before losing their last eight wickets for just 44 runs. Against India, Afghanistan got to 184/3 before the end of the 35th over but could only manage 88 runs in the last 15 overs. Then against England, they collapsed from 114 for no loss to 190/6 but some handy runs from their lower-order got them to a competitive total before their spinners bamboozled English batters to script a historic win.

“We know that we are doing very good at the top order. So, we have to take the responsibility as a player, everyone in the middle order. We are doing the first phase very good. When your openers are doing well in the first 20 hours, then the middle-order collapses. This kind of play can't win you games. We have to take responsibility as a player, everyone, especially in the middle order, we have to do well to win the games,” said Shahidi prior to Afghanistan’s next match against New Zealand in Chennai on Wednesday (October 18).

“I'm not totally satisfied with our batting because in first two games… one thing happening with us is when one wicket falls down, back-to-back wickets go down and that puts pressure. That has been happening with us for the last three games.

“If you want to be a good batting unit or a good team, first of all, you have to adjust to the conditions. We know that Delhi pitch, we played two games there and both pitches behaved differently. Now we are playing at different ground, as a batting unit, we talked about that and you have to think about all those things.”

The middle-order might not be producing enough runs but Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Shahidi have been in pretty decent form. Ibrahim Zadran has got starts but hasn’t been able to convert them into big scores. Azmatullah Omarzai and Ikram Alikhil have also managed to hit a fifty.

“Rahmanullah is one of the players in our team who is I believe a match-winner. He can change the game anytime. You know whenever I am talking to him, I tell him that you are a match-winner. He makes a lot of impact on the games where he does well. He did well in the last game but unfortunately got run out. I expect that he will play much more than what he has in the last three games.”

Talking about the approach of his two openers, Shahidi said: “We give freedom to every player like whoever goes in, he should play his own game. Rahmanullah and Ibrahim are different and have different roles. Rahmanullah is more aggressive and whenever he is in, he is always looking to score. Ibrahim is the kind of player who can play on merit and is always looking for big innings. He takes his time.”

Shahidi said Afghanistan are confident after defeating defending champions England in their last encounter. “It was a big win for us. England are the defending champions. So that will give a lot of confidence to our team. We had belief from the beginning of the tournament, but the first two games didn't go our way. (The win) will give us a lot of confidence moving forward.”

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