A spirited Afghanistan pulled off a major upset at the Cricket World Cup by thrashing rivals Pakistan by 8 wickets on Monday. The win keeps Afghanistan’s slim semi-final hopes alive.
Chasing 283 for victory, Afghanistan got off to a flying start thanks to a 130-run opening partnership between Ibrahim Zadran (87) and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (65).
The aggressive stand set the platform for a successful chase. Zadran and Gurbaz took apart Pakistan’s bowling, smashing boundaries during their attacking partnership.
Unbroken Third Wicket Stand Seals Win
After the openers fell, Rahmat Shah (77 not out) and Hashmatullah Shahidi (48 not out) maintained momentum with an unbeaten 96-run stand. Shahidi fittingly struck the winning boundary to cap Afghanistan’s second-highest ODI run chase.
Afghanistan comfortably reached 286-2 to pull off their first-ever World Cup win over rivals Pakistan.
Bowlers Restrict Pakistan to 282-7
Earlier, after winning the toss and batting first, Pakistan managed 282-7 against Afghanistan’s spin-heavy bowling attack.
Skipper Babar Azam top-scored with 74. Abdullah Shafique added a steady 58. However, Pakistan’s batsmen struggled to accelerate against the spinners in the middle overs.
Afghanistan’s First Back-to-Back World Cup Wins
The sensational victory marked Afghanistan’s first back-to-back wins at a single World Cup tournament.
It follows their equally stunning upset of former champions England just over a week ago. Afghanistan have historically struggled at the World Cup since debuting in 2015.
Pakistan’s Semi-Final Hopes Take Hit
For Pakistan, it was a third straight defeat that leaves their semi-final hopes in jeopardy. They have taken just four points from five matches so far.
With four points from four games, Afghanistan still have an outside chance of finishing in the top four if they win their remaining matches.
England Drop to Bottom of Group 1 Standings
The results leave Pakistan sixth in the 10-team standings and England at the bottom. The top four teams will progress to the knockout semi-finals.
After their earlier loss to Afghanistan, pre-tournament favorites England are struggling after defeats in their first three matches.
Overall, Afghanistan’s latest giant-killing act blew Group 1 wide open. Upsets have made the race to the semi-finals extremely unpredictable with the tournament reaching its halfway point.