Afghanistan (101/3) secure a comfortable win against PNG (95) by 7 wickets and qualify for Super Eight stage of the ICC T20 World Cup 2024

The Bald Eagle

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Afghanistan are absolutely flying in their group and now gear up to take on Papua New Guinea. The Afghans started their campaign with a dominant win against Uganda and then breezed past the Kiwis like it was nothing. The opening pair of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran has been sensational, notching up their highest opening partnership in the first game, with Gurbaz emerging as one of the leading run-scorers in the tournament with two brilliant fifties.

However, there's a bit of an over-reliance on the openers, and players like Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, and Azmatullah Omarzai need to step up more. Their bowling has been fantastic, with the pacers stealing the show. Fazalhaq Farooqi kicked off the campaign with a magnificent five-wicket haul and followed it up with a four-fer. Naveen-ul-Haq and Omarzai have provided excellent support. As for the spin attack, having the trio of Nabi, Rashid Khan, and Noor Ahmad guarantees a tough challenge for any opposition, especially on these wickets. Not

Squads:

Afghanistan Squad

Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Azmatullah Omarzai, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Ishaq, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Karim Janat, Rashid Khan (c), Nangyal Kharoti, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad Malik

Papua New Guinea Squad: Assadollah Vala (c), CJ Amini (vc), Alei Nao, Chad Soper, Hila Vare, Hiri Hiri, Jack Gardner, John Kariko, Kabua Vagi Morea, Kipling Doriga, Lega Siaka, Norman Vanua, Sema Kamea, Sese Bau, Tony Ura

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I have a feeling PNG may not cross 70. Let's see. Afghan spinners should be too much for them.
 
Something have to be very wrong if AFG were to lose. They will qualify against PNG. I hope AFG bats first and post 160. Looking forward to Gurbaz and Ibrahim bat. (y)
 
Afghanistan have won the toss and have opted to field


Papua New Guinea
(Playing XI): Tony Ura, Assad Vala(c), Lega Siaka, Sese Bau, Hiri Hiri, Chad Soper, Kiplin Doriga(w), Norman Vanua, Alei Nao, John Kariko, Semo Kamea

Afghanistan (Playing XI): Rahmanullah Gurbaz(w), Ibrahim Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Karim Janat, Rashid Khan(c), Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi
 
This one finishing in 5 overs and chased in 2 overs 😲
Afghanistan, Australia and England giving proper minnow bashing to minnows whereas Pakistan right now is like

" Hum nei bhoot bari kya hai kei jab hum girtei hain to hum litar khatei hain, Yei yaad rakhi"
 
Afghanistan has now qualified for the Super eight stage of this T20 World cup after winning this game. The deserving team really.

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Afghanistan cement spot in World Cup second round with testing win over PNG

Afghanistan have booked their ticket in the tournament's next stage, staying unbeaten against Papua New Guinea at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy.

Afghanistan have charged into the next phase of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, taking care of Group C rivals Papua New Guinea. The result officially ends contender New Zealand's hopes of progressing past the group stage.

The Afghans have moved to three from three in the Caribbean, further signalling their status as one of the tournament's genuine contenders.

They were made to do things differently this time around, winning the toss and sending in their opponents, after batting first in both previous World Cup encounters. And that decision was put to the test, as PNG looked to cause major Group C disruption with intent running between the wickets.

They hurried to 10/0 in as many balls, but the more fancied outfit took control when Assad Vala was caught casually out of his crease. It was Fazalhaq Farooqi that affected the opportunistic run out and his impact quickly translated to the ball, picking up back-to-back wickets to commence the next over.

Naveen-ul-Haq joined the Farooqi party in the Powerplay as well, taking a pair of wickets that included the crucial scalp of Tony Ura (11 off 18).

PNG was 30/5 at the six over mark.

Chad Soper and Kipling Doriga went about rebuilding the Barramundis’ total towards something defendable, but things went from bad to worse just before drinks. The pair had a moment of miscommunication, leading to the second run out of the innings … and it wasn’t to be the last.

To start the 13th over, Norman Vanua suffered a cruel blow of misfortune as he scampered through for a quick single. Approaching the crease, the corner of his bat dug into the pitch, caught aggonisingly short of safety.

Afghanistan displayed a ruthlessness in the field that generates even more noise as they build to the second round of World Cup qualification. They tried seven bowlers, because why not, suffocating Papua New Guinea to a total of just 95 – all out on the second-last ball with the fourth run out of the innings.

PNG’s six run outs at the tournament is the most of any team – a critical moment of learning for the Barramundis.

Farooqi finished with 16/3 off his four overs, continuing his scintillating breakout tournament for the Afghans. He was named Player of the Match for his all-round efforts in the first innings.

PNG wasn’t about to give up without a fight, removing both Afghan openers inside the first three overs.

They made the going tough for the Group C heavyweights, creating a couple more half-chances, daring to believe. Afghanistan finished the Powerplay 39/2, as their plan to end things quickly underwent some minor recalibration.

Despite another wicket in the ninth over, Afghanistan ground their way closer to victory, led by Gulbaden Naib. They made it to 59/3 at the midpoint of the innings, still comfortably in front of a run-a-ball requirement.

Naib put the foot down after drinks, finding the boundary another three times, which included a match-sealing six straight back over the bowler’s head. He finished at 49* off 36 balls to top-score for Afghanistan, who completed the chase 101/3 at the start of the 16th over.

They’ll play fellow qualifiers West Indies in a tune-up fixture on June 18, having both already secured tickets to the Super 8 stage.

ICC
 
Jonathan Trott (Afghanistan Coach) post-match Press Conference - 13th June 2024

[Reporter:]

What sort of belief do your players have? Three wins on each route, what sort of belief does your camp have heading into the Super 8’s?

[Jonathan Trott:]

We still have one game left, an important group game, and that's going to be a good gauge of where we are against a powerful West Indies side who won an incredible game last night from the position they were in. So, it's nice to have won tonight and got qualification as such. To come to a World Cup and win three is a nice feeling, but also the realisation and reality that we haven't won anything yet. We only achieved the group stage and we've got some important cricket matches coming up which we're going to have to play well in.

[Reporter:]

Your left arm pacer, Fazalhaq, is having a really good tournament. Tell me a little bit about what you think of his performances.

[Jonathan Trott:]

He's been really good I think when he gets his line and that with the pace and the swing, he's very dangerous so I still think with the amount of talent I still think he can even bowl better. I still think there's even better bowling in him. He's that talented. And working with our bowling coach Hamid Hassan and obviously DJ Bravo for this tournament, we've seen him stand up and have some real match winning performances or man of the match performances. But a lot of other bowlers have bowled well as well. So, I was pleased with how everybody else supported him today. It's not just about one bowler. And that's exciting going forward for St. Lucia.

[Reporter:]

You mentioned DJ Bravo. Can you talk a little bit about the impact that he has had so far?

[Jonathan Trott:]

Well, I think DJ has come in and obviously very well respected, but his work ethic is great along with all the other coaches. But also, his knowledge of the game, the amount of T20 cricket, and especially in this format he has, the amount of teams and the conditions, and obviously having the local knowledge here at ground, how they're going to play. So as somebody I speak to about, I've obviously played against him and getting to spend a bit of time with him now is great and it's really good to have him on our side. He works with the bowlers but works with the batters as well. But he was a very good all-rounder, wasn't he? So, lots of experience to draw from and pleased we've secured his services.

[Reporter:]

Three games in this is the first time that the openers didn't get the kind of start that they did 100-run partnerships in the opening two fixtures. Giving now the rest of the order a chance to show their worth. The rest of the order in the other two games didn't have the best of goings. What in your opinion needs to be worked on going forward as you mentioned having to come up against West Indies and so on moving forward in this tournament?

[Jonathan Trott:]

I think we saw how bad it's going. I think you can't blame a guy like Gulbadin who hasn't had a chance to bat for a long time in a match. I thought Azmat came in and played really well and then got one that rolled along the deck. So, our guys are in good form and I believe in them wholeheartedly. The openers have played really well, but also today is a good reminder of just how fickle cricket can be when you just relax a little bit or take - not as focused or doing the basics as much as the pitch or the conditions deserve.

So, I'm happy in a way that they've got some time in the middle and then Gulbadin and Nabi and Azmat will take that confidence going into the next few games. So, it's a sort of catch-22 if you like. You want everybody to be informed going into the later parts of the trip, but you also want everybody to get runs at the same time.

[Reporter:]

I just wanted to check what the situation is with Mujeeb, with his hand. Is he likely to play a part in the rest of the tournament?

[Jonathan Trott:]

We're sort of checking that and I think in the next few days we'll have an answer for everybody on that and a decision will be made pretty soon.

[Reporter:]

And in his absence, was it pleasing to see Noor perform well?

[Jonathan Trott:]

No, it was great. I thought the way that he bowled and he's going to be a big part for us going forward, as these wickets continue to wear a little bit more on the surfaces. It's always nice to have the option of him to come into the side or - left-arm spin of Nangyal Khatori, who can come into the side. He did really well in the last series against Ireland. And obviously, Nabi, who can bowl spin as well. So, it was also pleasing that our seamers had a bit of a run out as well, Azmat and Karim able to bowl a little bit. And I thought the way that Naveen bowled it was also impressive along with Faisal.

[Reporter:]

So, you have had some really impressive performances from the players the team on a whole as well maybe today may not have been as comprehensive as you would have hoped but Afghanistan has been singled out as perhaps a favourite to go all the way. I spoke to Riyad Emred today, he's singled you out as well as one of these standout teams. So, I'm not sure if you've heard all this chatter about your ability to take home the big prize do these labels bring any sort of pressure?

[Jonathan Trott:]

No, I haven't heard that chat at all certainly that I said you don't tell them that in the change room. But I believe we're very, very talented and when we play our best cricket, we can take on anyone. We've seen that. I feel that we still haven't played our best game. There's still things we need to work on and we'll be working on those over the next few days to give ourselves the best chance to beat the major teams.
 
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