Afghanistan tame PNG to advance as New Zealand eliminated

By AFP
June 15, 2024
Afghanistan's Fazalhaq Farooqi celebrating after taking a wicket. — AFP/file

TAROUBA: Afghanistan underlined their growing status as the dark horses of the 2024 T20 World Cup with a seven-wicket victory over Papua New Guinea on Thursday to advance to the Super Eight phase of the competition and send New Zealand crashing out.

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Fazalhaq Farooqi added another three victims to his tournament-leading wicket tally as PNG were bundled out for 95 off 19.5 overs batting first in the Group C match at the Brian Lara Stadium in Trinidad.

Afghanistan stumbled early in reply, losing both openers cheaply for the first time in the tournament but eventually reached the target for the loss of three wickets in the 16th over for a third win in a row.

Gulbadin Naib, dropped on nine by wicketkeeper Kiplin Doriga off medium-pacer Alei Nao, took his team to the target with an unbeaten 49 in an unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 46 with Mohammad Nabi (16 not out). Afghanistan finished on 101-3 off 15.1 overs.

The result confirms Afghanistan´s place, together with hosts West Indies, in the next round while at the same time eliminating New Zealand, who still have two group matches to play.

Left-arm seamer Farooqi spearheaded another impressive Afghan bowling effort, taking two quick wickets after PNG captain Assad Vala inadvertently opened the door for his opponents when he was carelessly run out in the second over of the match.

Two more run outs followed and Farooqi returned in the 19th over to claim another scalp to finish with three for 16 before a fourth run out ended the innings.

“I just keep it simple and stay with my strengths,” said Farooqi after receiving the ´Man of the Match´ award. “If conditions are helpful for me I´m going for wickets. We just want to keep on giving 100 percent in every match we play.”

He now has 12 wickets in the tournament, four more than the trio of South African pacer Anrich Nortje, fast bowler Alzarri Joseph of the West Indies and Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa.

To their credit, the Papuans showed a willingness to fight after slipping to 50 for seven in the 13th over as Doriga, who topscored with 27, and Alei Nao (13) put on 38 for the eighth wicket before Farooqi, inevitably, separated them.

Afghanistan won the toss

Papua New Guinea Innings

Ura b Naveen-ul-Haq 11

Vala (c) run out 3

Siaka c Rahmanullah b Fazalhaq 0

Sese c Rahmanullah b Fazalhaq 0

Hiri Hiri b Naveen-ul-Haq 1

Soper run out (Noor/Rashid) 9

Doriga lbw b Noor Ahmad 27

Vanua run out Rashid 0

Nao c Rashid b Fazalhaq 13

Kariko not out 4

Kamea run out 2

Extras: (lb 12, w 13) 25

Total: 19.5 Ov (RR: 4.78) 95

Fall of wickets: 1-12, 2-12, 3-12, 4-17, 5-30, 6-46, 7-50, 8-88, 9-89, 10-95

Bowling: Fazalhaq Farooqi 4-0-16-3, Mohammad Nabi 1-0-9-0, Naveen-ul-Haq 2.5-0-4-2, Rashid Khan 4-0-25-0,

Noor Ahmad 4-0-14-1, Azmatullah Omarzai 2-1-5-0, Karim Janat 2-0-10-0

Afghanistan Innings

Gurbaz b Nao 11

Zadran b Kamea 0

Naib not out 49

Omarzai b Vanua 13

Nabi not out 16

Extras: (b 1, lb 6, w 5) 12

Total: 15.1 Ov (RR: 6.65) 101/3

Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-22, 3-55

Bowling: Alei Nao 4-0-26-1, Semo Kamea 3-0-16-1, Chad Soper 2.1-0-19-0, Norman Vanua 3-0-18-1, John Kariko 3-0-15-0

Result: Afghanistan won by 7 wickets

Player of the match: Fazalhaq Farooqi

Umpires: Alex Wharf, Michael Gough

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