Pakistan vs Afghanistan 22th ICC world Cup 2023 match at M A Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai. The match is played by Pakistan vs Afghanistan at 2 pm on 23 October Monday.
Afghanistan 286 for 2 beat Pakistan 282 for 7 by eight wickets
Forget about the infamous 8-0 or 7-1 showdowns; we’re stepping into a different cricketing saga. Picture this: Afghanistan, on the brink of their fifth game in the 2023 World Cup, facing their age-old nemesis, Pakistan. Seven attempts, zero victories. Heartbreaks aplenty.
But hold your breath, because on the grand stage in Chennai, Afghanistan shattered the jinx. In an awe-inspiring performance, they danced down the pitch, chasing down 283 with eight wickets and six balls to spare, marking their highest successful ODI chase.
A triumphant ‘W’ against Pakistan, flipping the script to a 1-7 narrative. And it wasn’t just any chase; it was the most substantial successful chase against Pakistan in World Cup history.
Pakistan vs Afghanistan Highlights
But was it an upset? Not when you rewind the tape to what Afghanistan unleashed on England. Their clinical chase catapulted them to the sixth spot on the table, making you question the very definition of an upset.
Now, let’s rewind to the toss. On a pitch resembling a bald man’s head no blade of grass in sight, Babar Azam confidently opted to bat first. The fifties from Babar and Abdullah Shafique, sprinkled with impactful cameos from Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan, painted a formidable 282 for Pakistan.
Afghanistan, however, took to the chase like soldiers on a mission. Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran orchestrated a 130-run opening symphony, both notching up fifties. As they exited the stage, they entered Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi, the new protagonists in this cricketing drama.
Together, they navigated the chase, closing the curtains in 49 overs. A cricketing saga filled with perplexity, burstiness, and the sweet taste of victory for Afghanistan against their long-standing adversary.
The symphony of Afghanistan’s chase began on a note of perfection. Gurbaz elegantly dispatched Shaheen Shah Afridi to the fine-leg boundary, while Ibrahim showcased his prowess by driving Afridi through the covers just three balls later.
Hasan Ali found himself at the receiving end of Ibrahim’s onslaught, and Gurbaz had a field day against Haris Rauf, plundering him for four consecutive fours in the opening over. Within nine overs, Afghanistan raced to 60, their batsmen orchestrating a captivating performance.
As boundaries adorned the scorecard, the duo’s finesse in running between the wickets was a spectacle in itself. The plot thickened with Pakistan’s fielding resembling a chaotic puzzle sloppy and all over the place.
The 100-run milestone was breached in just 15.3 overs, a testament to the relentless rhythm set by Ibrahim and Gurbaz. Both had their fifties in the bag, and Pakistan found their first breakthrough only in the 22nd over. Afridi’s crafty delivery induced a top edge off Gurbaz’s blade, swiftly captured by the fielder stationed at deep third.
Enter Rahmat, calm and collected, seamlessly fitting into the ensemble. Dot balls were a mere pause for them; a boundary promptly followed whenever the need arose. The second-wicket partnership yielded 60 runs off 74 balls before Ibrahim, grappling with cramps, edged Hasan behind, departing with a commendable 87.
Yet, there were no signs of panic. Shahidi and Rahmat took center stage, shutting down any notions of a collapse. They orchestrated an unbeaten 96-run stand for the third wicket, denying Pakistan even a fleeting chance. The serenity with which they navigated the chase became the most enchanting melody of the entire cricketing symphony.
Pakistan found themselves toothless in the face of Afghanistan’s relentless chase, their bowlers grappling with a surface that offered little. Rahmat, the unyielding maestro, stood unbeaten at 77, adorned with five boundaries and a mighty six. Shahidi, contributing a blistering 48* off 45 balls, added his flair to the crescendo. In a fitting finale, the captain himself sealed the victory, executing a pull/flick off Afridi that ignited emotional scenes in the dugout.
The first innings unfolded in three acts: Pakistan dominated the initial 15 overs, Afghanistan’s spinners seized control for the subsequent 25, and Pakistan rallied with a flourish of 91 runs in the final ten. This surge seemed to gift them the momentum as they headed into the break.
Now, let’s rewind to the pitch in Chennai, the same canvas used for India’s clash against Australia. Afghanistan, opting for a spin-heavy XI, brought in Noor Ahmad for Fazalhaq Farooqi. Initially, the move appeared to backfire in the first 15 overs as Pakistan surged to 56 for no loss a powerplay dominance that marked their best in ten World Cup innings.
Within these initial overs, Abdullah Shafique scripted not one but two firsts: two sixes, the first of which was Pakistan’s initial powerplay six after a staggering 1169 balls this year.
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The cricketing stage was set, a tale of strategic gambits, powerplay surprises, and ultimately, Afghanistan’s spin-heavy symphony orchestrating a masterful chase against the formidable Pakistan.
Pakistan sprinted to their half-century in a mere 7.4 overs, exploiting the generosity of Naveen-ul-Haq and Mujeeb Ur Rahman who were both leaking runs. Sensing the need for a change, Shahidi turned to the seasoned Mohammad Nabi.
The veteran, with his crafty variations in pace and length, clamped down on the run flow. Azmatullah Omarzai seized the opportunity at the other end, benefiting from the pressure as Imam-ul-Haq miscued a pull to short midwicket.
Babar and Shafique then shouldered the innings, with Shafique notching up his second successive fifty in 60 balls. However, as the ball aged and the pitch wore down, it began to unveil tricks of its own. Between the 16th and 31st overs, Pakistan struggled, managing only two fours and a six, amassing a modest 61 runs while losing two crucial wickets.
Noor Ahmad emerged as the architect of this pivotal phase, first dismissing Shafique lbw with a cunning wrong’un and then sending Mohammad Rizwan back to the pavilion. Babar, after a patient 69-ball stint, reached his fifty but fell to Noor at 74.
With the score at 206 for 5 by the end of the 42nd over, Pakistan appeared to be falling short of a par score. Enter Iftikhar and Shadab, rewriting the script. The duo orchestrated a remarkable turnaround, adding 73 runs in just 45 balls and dismantling what seemed to be a lackluster show by the Afghanistan bowlers in the death overs. The first innings, a rollercoaster of momentum shifts and strategic maneuvers, set the stage for a thrilling second act in this cricketing drama.