by Rex Clementine

Afghanistan beating one of the leading cricket playing nations is no more a shock or a surprise. They did so well during the last year’s World Cup in India and they are doing it again in this T-20 World Cup. It was New Zealand’s turn to surrender at their hands this time as they crashed to a heavy 84 run win. Wonder who’s next in their hit list.

A win next week over Papua New Guinea is enough for Afghanistan to go to the second round as they have a very healthy Net Run Rate of 5:22. That means hosts West Indies and New Zealand will battle it out for the remaining spot.

Spin used to be Afghanistan’s strength but nowadays their pace is doing the job as well.

Left-arm quick Fazalhaq Farooqi ripped through the New Zealand top order before Rashid Khan spun his magic. Both bowlers finished with four wickets apiece as Afghanistan shot out New Zealand for 75 inside 16 overs.

Afghanistan under former England batter Jonathan Trott have got the perfect blueprint for T-20 cricket. They only managed 55 runs in the first ten overs. Their batters didn’t get rattled trying to score quick runs. They knew acceleration can happen in the death overs as long as they had wickets in hand. That’s exactly what they did as 109 runs came in the last ten overs.

Opening batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz batted through the innings before being dismissed in the last over to post 80 while adding 103 runs for the first wicket with Ibrahim Zadran (44).

Azmatullah Omarzai chipped in with 22 runs in 13 balls, The rest of the batters sacrificed their wickets unselfishly going for big hits as Afghanistan tried to get the maximum. With that kind of team effort Afghanistan can go a long way in the tournament.

New Zealand batting was in such a disarray that only two of their batters got double figures. It’s their fourth lowest total in T-20 Internationals.