World Cup 2023: Pakistan In Trouble After Losing To Afghanistan

This is Afghanistan's highest-ever chase in a World Cup match, the first time they have recorded two wins in the competition and their first over Pakistan

World Cup 2023: Pakistan In Trouble After Losing To Afghanistan

Afghanistan on Monday shook off their "minnows" moniker and put in a complete performance to shock Pakistan with a comprehensive eight-wicket win in Chennai. 

The loss left Pakistan handing precariously on fifth in the points table, just above Afghanistan.

On Monday, Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat, hoping to put in a winning formula of setting up a tough target and then set about dismantling the opposition with their pace attack.

But little seemed to go as per plan for the Men in Green. 

The only silver lining was a top batting order that looked to keep their wickets. But that meant they turned in a cagey performance and a powerplay that saw Pakistan post just 56 runs.

Shortly after that, Imamul Haq was dismissed for 17 off 22 deliveries. 

Captain Babar Azam and Abdullah Shafique tried to put together a partnership, but it lasted a little more than 50 runs when Shaifque was dismissed for 58 by young spinner Noor Ahmad.

Mohammad Rizwan then quickly followed while attempting to sweep Noor. 

Babar managed to put on another 43 runs with Saud Shakeel before the latter was dismissed for 25 runs. A short while later, Babar followed, having scored 74 runs and leaving the team poised at 206 for five. 

Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed then put on 73 runs for the sixth wicket as Pakistan posted a total of 282 for seven. 

With Afghanistan requiring 283, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran showed Pakistan how to play through the Power Play, smashing 60 runs without losing any wickets. 

The opening duo scored 130 runs before Shaheen Shah Afridi dismissed Gurbaz for 65.

Zadran and Rahmat Shah put on 60 runs for the second wicket partnership to ensure Afghanistan went into the final ten overs with a manageable score to overcome. 

After Zadran's departure in the 34th over, having scored 87, Shah and captain Hashmatullah Shahidi guided Afghanistan home with an over to spare. Zadran, however, was named as the player of the match.

Later, a shocked Babar Azam admitted that Pakistan's bowling was not up to the mark because they did not pick up wickets in the middle overs.

"In a World Cup, if you are not good even in one department, you lose," he said, adding that the pitch was helping the spinners, and with Pakistan massively lacking in that department, the Afghan batsman had no pressure.

This was the first time that Afghanistan had beaten Pakistan in a World Cup match, while Monday saw their highest-ever successful run chase in ODIs, proving that not only the ball but Afghanistan are a force with the bat as well.

For the first time, Afghanistan picked up two wins in the World Cup. 

While accepting his Player of the Match award, Zadran said that he was thankful he performed well in the event. 

"I wanted to play with a positive intent," he said. He also veered into politics, criticising Pakistan's decision to send Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan with the deadline looming.