Latest: Afghanistan down Netherlands to remain in World Cup semi-final race
NBS Webdesk

Afghanistan´s captain Hashmatullah Shahidi (right) and Azmatullah Omarzai run between the wickets during the World Cup match between Netherlands and Afghanistan at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on November 3, 2023. — AFP

Afghanistan on Friday secured a seven-wicket win against the Netherlands significantly strengthening their position in the semi-final race of the ongoing World Cup 2023.

During the match being played at Lucknow’s Ekana cricket stadium, the Afghan side eased past the 180-run target courtesy of 56 and 52 run-knocks by Rahmat Shah and Hashmat Shahidi, respectively.

Today’s win has boosted Afghanistan’s chances of reaching the semi-finals of the mega-event as they are ranked fifth on the points table with four wins and three losses.

Batting second, Afghan openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran lost their wickets in the early overs. However, Rahmat Shah and Shahidi established a much-needed partnership to guide their side to an important win.

Shah, who has now amassed 264 runs with an impressive average of 44 in the World Cup, stepped up once again after his side lost two early wickets and scored 52 runs, combining with his skipper to form a 74-run partnership.

Shahidi (56) and Azmatullah Omarzai (31) stood till the end securing a seven-wicket win for their side.

Earlier in the day, batting first, the Dutch could only score 179 runs in 46.3 overs as Afghani spinners, Mohammad Nabi and Noor Ahmed, and their poor running between the wickets troubled them the most.

Despite a bad start, losing their opener Wesley Barresi in the first over, the Dutch held their nerves and started playing good cricket but they became their own enemies.

All of their top performers — Max O’Dowd, Collin Ackerman, and Sybrand Engelbrecht — were run out after scoring 42, 29, and 58 runs respectively.

The Dutch could’ve posted a decent total but their skipper Scott Edwards was run out on the first ball, leaving his side 92-4 in 18.4 overs.

Nabi with three and the youngster Noor with two scalps to his name were Afghanistan’s pick of the bowlers.

Afghanistan will now face the in-form Australia in yet another significant match on November 7 in Mumbai while the Netherlands face the struggling England on November 8 in Pune.

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