Afghanistan players grooving to 'Lungi dance' after WC win over Pakistan takes internet by storm (WATCH)
A revitalized Afghanistan team continued their remarkable streak, putting Pakistan on the brink of elimination with a commanding eight-wicket victory in their ODI World Cup 2023 match on Monday.
Afghanistan's remarkable victory over Pakistan in the ODI World Cup 2023 has continued their giant-killing spree, pushing Pakistan to the brink of elimination with an eight-wicket win in Chennai on Monday. On a challenging Chepauk track, Pakistan set a target of 283, which was by no means an easy chase. However, Afghanistan's Rahmanullah Gurbaz (65 off 53 balls) and Ibrahim Zadran (87 off 113 balls) formed a solid opening partnership of 130, providing an ideal platform for the chase.
Experience is often invaluable in such matches, but Afghanistan displayed enough skill to successfully chase down the target in 49 overs. They exposed Pakistan's bowling weaknesses, which failed to perform on the day. This win marked Afghanistan's second victory in the tournament, having previously defeated defending champions England in New Delhi, putting them in the sixth position with four points.
However, Pakistan, who suffered a hat-trick of defeats, remains in fifth place. Another loss against South Africa later in the week would likely shut the doors to the knockout stage for the 1992 champions.
Following the win, celebrations erupted within the Afghanistan team with several videos capturing the players singing and dancing with joy. One video that has taken the internet by storm is players dancing to the iconic 'Lungi dance' song from the Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone starrer 'Chennai Express' after defeating Pakistan in style.
Rahmat Shah (77 not out off 84 balls) played a crucial role for Afghanistan, displaying situational awareness, especially during the second phase of the chase. He received good support from skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi (48 not out, 45 balls), and the duo added 96 runs for the third wicket, demonstrating composure in challenging batting conditions.
The match was played on the same pitch as the India versus Australia game, offering both grip and turn. Despite Pakistan's competitive total of 282 for 7, Afghanistan's strong spin bowling unit proved its worth.
While spin is Afghanistan's strength, it has proven to be Pakistan's Achilles' heel, with bowlers like Shadab (0/49 in 8 overs) and Usama Mir (0/55 in 8 overs) struggling to make an impact. Babar Azam and his team had a difficult day in the field.
Afghanistan's start in the chase was impressive, with Gurbaz confidently handling Pakistan's formidable bowlers. His aggressive play included hitting nine fours and a six. The Pakistanis bowled too many boundaries in the first 15 overs, and Gurbaz took advantage, particularly against Rauf and Usama Mir. His strong off-side play repeatedly found gaps in the point and backward point regions.
Pakistan's fielding was subpar, with players often blaming each other in full view of the public. This led to frustration, even from skipper Babar Azam, who lost his composure over failing to stop overthrows.
In their innings, Pakistan's openers Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq had a cautious start and managed a 56-run partnership. Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan's spin duo kept things under control for Afghanistan.
Shafique reached his third ODI half-century, and Babar combined aggression with caution. In the end, Pakistan managed a reasonably good total, thanks to the efforts of lower-order batsmen Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan.
Afghanistan's strategy of expecting a slow pitch with four spinners turned out differently, as the pitch offered more than anticipated. The victory in this match was historic for Afghanistan, underlining their growing prowess in international cricket.