Farooqi special seals Super 8 spot for Afghanistan

Afghanistan vs PNG
Afghanistan vs PNG (PC: ACB/X)

Afghanistan delivered a clinical and ruthless performance against Papua New Guinea in a crucial Group C match at the Brian Lara Stadium, Tarouba, Trinidad. Fazalhaq Farooqi was the star with the ball, claiming 3 for 16 as PNG crumbled to a meagre total of 72. Despite their modest target, PNG managed to make Afghanistan work hard, but the latter eventually chased down the score within 16 overs, securing their third consecutive win of the tournament. This victory ensures Afghanistan and West Indies advance to the Super 8s, officially knocking New Zealand, Uganda, and Papua New Guinea out of this year’s T20 World Cup.

The Afghan bowlers were on fire from the start, with PNG’s top order collapsing early in their innings. Farooqi was the wrecker-in-chief, taking two wickets in his first over and leaving PNG reeling. With wickets falling rapidly, PNG’s batters struggled to handle the fierce Afghan pace attack. Naveen-ul-Haq contributed significantly, taking two crucial wickets. PNG’s woes were compounded by four run-outs, leaving them in tatters. A small partnership between Kipling Doriga and Alei Nao added 38 runs but was not enough to push the team past the three-figure mark.

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Afghanistan into the next round of T20 World Cup 2024
Afghanistan into the next round of T20 World Cup 2024 (PC: ACB/X)

Afghanistan’s chase began shakily, with Ibrahim Zadran falling early. Gurbaz, the tournament’s highest run-scorer, was soon undone by the uneven bounce of the wicket. Azmatullah Omarzai attempted to go big but lost his wicket playing an expansive stroke on a tricky pitch. The experienced duo of Gulbadin Naib and Mohammad Nabi then steadied the innings. Gulbadin top-scored for his team with an unbeaten 49. Starting cautiously, Naib took on the responsibility of scoring and remained unbeaten, guiding Afghanistan to victory and ensuring there were no further setbacks.

PNG’s fielding was subpar at the start of Afghanistan’s run-chase, and had they managed to save more runs early on, they might have extended the contest. However, Afghanistan’s form has been impressive, remaining unbeaten since March in this format, and they continue to dominate their opponents.

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