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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Men’s ODI WC: Zadran’s 129*, Rashid Khan’s lusty blows help Afghans reach 291/5 against Australia


Opener Ibrahim Zadran struck maiden century in the World Cups for Afghanistan as he batted through to their innings to take them to 291/5 against Australia in Match 39 of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 at the Wankhede Stadium here on Tuesday.

After skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi won the toss and elected to bat on a slow and dry Wankhede pitch that offered a little bit to the bowlers but was good for batting, Zadran kept Afghanistan’s hopes alive by carrying his bat through for an unbeaten 129 off 143 balls, hitting eight boundaries and three maximums.

This was Zadran’s fifth century in ODIs in his 27th match but the first triple-figure score for his country in the World Cup. Rashid Khan hammered an 18-ball unbeaten 35 to shore up the Afghanistan innings in the slog overs as they scored at over 10 runs per over in the last five overs.

Afghanistan needs to win this match and the next one against South Africa in Ahmedabad in a couple of days to make it to the semifinals without the help of the Net Run Rate.

However, they found the going slow at the start with the Australian bowlers not giving them a lot of chances, managing only 46/1 in Power-play. At the halfway mark (25th over), Afghanistan were 122/2, scoring at the rate of 4.88 per over. But they blasted 96 runs for the loss of two wickets in the last 10 overs to reach a defendable score.

Even though they did not make major inroads, the Australian bowlers did not give the Afghan batters much width and kept the length tight in the first Power-play.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz did not last long as Josh Hazlewood gave Australia an early breakthrough, getting the Afghan opener to play uppishly straight into the hands of Mitchell Starc at deep backward square. He scored 21 and Afghanistan lost their first wicket at 38.

Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmat Shah raised 83 runs for the second wicket off 100 balls with Zadran completing his fifty off 62 deliveries, hitting six boundaries. He reached the landmark with a streaky four off Starc, flashing at a wide one and getting an outside edge.

Zadran and Shah took the score past 100 runs before Glenn Maxwell accounted for it in his sixth over, spearing in the delivery at the leg stump as Shah charged down the wicket as the Afghan batter did not get enough bat.

Opener Zadran added 52 runs for the third wicket with Hashmatullah Shahidi before the skipper became the third Afghanistan batter to fail to capitalise on a start and got out in the twenties. He made 26 off 43 deliveries before he was cleaned up by Starc with an inch-perfect yorker.

Zadran went on to complete his century off 131 deliveries, hitting seven boundaries, as he continued to anchor the Afghanistan innings, surviving a run-out opportunity going for his 100th run.

Zadran picked up the scoring after completing his century and struck his first six off Zampa, over mid-wicket, and then flicked Starc for a big one over deep mid-wicket for another six. Rashid struck a few lusty blows towards the end of the innings, going down to his knees to club Maxwell over midwicket for maximum and hitting the same bowler for a boundary going down the track to a wide one.

They added 58 runs for the unfinished sixth wicket in just 28 deliveries, with Rashid adding 35 runs and Zadran scoring 21 runs in quick time. Rashid, who refused to take a single, struck Mitchell Starc for a couple of huge sixes in the final over, crouching low to swing it over deep square for the best shot off the innings in the penultimate ball of the innings.

Brief scores:

Afghanistan 291/5 in 50 overs (Ibrahim Zadran 129 not out; Rashid Khan 35 not out; Rahmat Shah 30; Josh Hazlewood 2-39) against Australia.

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