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T20 World Cup: Afghanistan thrash New Zealand in massive upset

Courtesy: Dawn News/Reuters

Afghanistan’s bowlers exploited a pitch assisting both pace and spin to the full at the Providence Stadium on Friday as they skittled New Zealand for just 75 from 15.2 overs and bowled their team to an 84-run run victory in the T20 World Cup.

Afghanistan captain and spin bowler Rashid Khan took four for 17 in his team’s second decisive victory in the tournament; they defeated Uganda by 125 runs at the same venue on Tuesday and are on top of Group C.

After New Zealand captain Kane Williamson elected to field first, Afghanistan reached a respectable 159 for six from their 20 overs, with openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz (80) and Ibrahim Zadrau (44) putting on 103 for the first wicket from 14.3 overs.

Left-arm pace bowler Trent Boult took the new ball, with Lockie Ferguson opening from the other end, and conceded three boundaries in a row to Zadrau, two of them from streaky shots that flew down to fine leg and third man respectively.

Zadrau was dropped on the square leg boundary by Finn Allen from a lofted hook that he appeared to lose in the lights with the batsman on 13.

Gurbaz had already received a let-off when he dabbed the ball to third man, took off for a single and was out of his crease when he was sent back, but wicketkeeper Devon Conway was unable to catch the return.

New Zealand would still have been reasonably happy at the halfway stage with Afghanistan on 55 for two, but the two openers then went on the charge. Zadrau hit off-spinner Michael Bracewell for a brace of sixes and Gurbaz cracked Boult for another six when the pace bowler returned.

The Kiwis finally took a wicket when Matt Henry bowled Zadrau, with Henry taking a second wicket when Azmatullah Omazari was caught by Lockie Ferguson for 22. Boult returned to take two wickets in the final over with a runout.

New Zealand were immediately in trouble when they lost Finn Allen to the first ball of their innings, bowled leg stump by a ball from Fazalhaq Farooqi that jagged back off the seam.

His opening partner Devon Conway followed for eight and Daryl Mitchell was caught behind for five leaving New Zealand at a parlous 28 for three. Khan took the ball and struck in his first over, dismissing Mark Chapman for four and Michael Bracewell with his next delivery.

He then dismissed his opposite number, Williamson caught at slip, and New Zealand were finally all out after 15.2 overs for their second-lowest T20 score ever.

1- Header image: New Zealand’s Lockie Ferguson attempts to run out Afghanistan’s Ibrahim Zadran during their group stage match in Georgetown on June 8. — ICC (X)

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