Mumbai, Nov 7: In a must win battle against the mighty Aussies, opting to bat first Afghanistan were 252/5 in 47 overs in the 39th match of the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 at the Wankhede Stadium, here on Tuesday. Their batting mainstay Ibrahim Zadran scored a splendid century to keep alive their hopes.
Afghan opener Rahamanullah Gurbaz was dismissed for 21 in 25 balls, caught by Mitchell Starc at deep mid wicket of right arm pacer Josh Hazlewood. At the of end of 8 overs, Afghanistan got their first shock as Gurbaz departed with the score-card reflecting 38/1.
Rahmat Shah and Ibrahim Zadran then shared a 83-run partneship for the vital second wicket. But Rahmat trying to hit offie Glenn Maxwell over long-off, was caught by Josh Hazlewood in the deep. He made 30 in 44 balls with a solitary hit to the fence and Afghanistan were 121/2 in 24.4 overs.
Afghanistan Afghanistan skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi was clean bowled by a lethan Mitchell Starc yorker. By then he has scored 26 in 43 balls. Shahidi and Zadran had a 52 runs steady partnership for the thrd wicket. The seasoned batters duo ensured that Afghanistan middle order does not crumble under pressure before the upbeat Australians, who had three consecutive wins before the Tuesday encounter.
Axmatullah Omarzai's 18-ball 22 cameo ended after he was sent back caught by Maxwell as Aussie leg-spinner Adam Zampa finally got a scalp in his 9th over.
Josh Hazlewood returned to attack and cleaned up Mohd Nabi (12 in 10 balls).
Winning the toss, Afghanistan skipper Shahid seemed to be clear in his plan against the five-time ODI World Cup champions Australia, put run on the board first and then the turners would dominate the proceedings, when the opposition bat next.
Hashmatullah Shahidi (captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wicketkeeper), Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Azmatullah Omarzai, Ikram Alikhil, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad and Naveen-ul-Haq.
Pat Cummins (captain) David Warner, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, , Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Inglis (wicketkeeper), Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa and Josh Hazlewood.