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Lucky to have bowlers who can bowl at any stage: Rashid Khan

Last updated on 04 Jun 2024 | 05:05 AM
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Lucky to have bowlers who can bowl at any stage: Rashid Khan

Afghanistan bundled out Uganda for just 58 in their opening fixture of the 2024 T20 World Cup

Afghanistan couldn’t have asked for a better start to their 2024 T20 World Cup campaign. Playing Uganda in Guyana on June 3 (Monday), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (45-ball 76) and Ibrahim Zadran (46-ball 70) put on 154 runs for the opening wicket and helped Afghanistan post a total of 183/5. Fazalhaq Farooqi then took 5/9, leading his team to a 125-run victory

“This is the kind of start we wanted as a team. We have worked hard for the last 2-3 weeks. Great effort overall. Proud feeling to be leading the team in a World Cup. Tough games coming up, so it's about keeping it simple and giving your 100 percent,” said Afghanistan skipper Rashid Khan after bowling Uganda out for 58 runs in 16 overs.

Apart from Farooqi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq and Rashid himself were also amongst wickets. “So many options in all phases of the game with this line-up. Lucky to have bowlers who can bowl at any stage.

“2023 World Cup gave us so much confidence and the belief that we can beat any team. It's about keeping it simple and focusing on our game rather than thinking about the opponents. Big game coming up against New Zealand. For me, more than the result how and what sort of effort we put in will matter more.”

Twice Farooqi got two wickets in two deliveries but failed to complete the hat-trick on both occasions. He became the fourth left-arm pacer to take a five-wicket haul in the T20 WC. That’s not it, he also registered the fourth-best figures in T20 WC history.

“I have missed a hat-trick 7-8 times in my career. It’s not something in my control but I will try better in the future. (Plans today) I tried to bowl into the wicket and see what happens. It swung from the beginning and later on I tried to bowl slower since it wasn’t coming onto the bat that nicely,” the left-arm seamer said after the game.

Meanwhile, Uganda had a tough introduction to the World Cup. The only positive outcome for them was their bowling in the last six overs of the first innings. Afghanistan were 152 for no loss at the end of 14 overs and looked set to go past 200. Uganda, however, made a superb comeback in the last six overs and conceded only 31 runs. 

Afghanistan failed to hit a single boundary in that period. Cosmas Kyewuta (2/25) and Brian Masaba (2/21) bowled five of those six overs. This was only the sixth occasion in the T20 WC where a team didn’t hit a single boundary in the death overs (16-20) of an innings (all five overs played).

“Special moment to hear our national anthem and see our flag at the World Cup. It's a moment that I will cherish for the rest of my life. They got a pretty good start. It was about fighting back and I thought we pulled it back pretty well at the end with the ball. Credit to them for playing well. One of the top bowling sides. Good seamers and quality spinners,” said captain Masaba.

Afghanistan will play New Zealand in their next fixture on June 7, while Uganda will take on Papua New Guinea on June 5.

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