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ODI World Cup 2023: Chase against Pakistan spurred our belief, says Afghanistan captain after win over SL

Following their win against Sri Lanka in the ODI World Cup 2023 on Monday, Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi attributed his team's confidence to its triumphant run chase against Pakistan.

ODI World Cup 2023: Chase against Pakistan spurred our belief, says Afghanistan captain after win over SL snt
First Published Oct 31, 2023, 11:49 AM IST

Afghanistan's captain, Hashmatullah Shahidi, attributed his team's confidence in the ODI World Cup 2023 game against Sri Lanka in Pune on Monday to their successful run chase against Pakistan. Afghanistan successfully pursued a target of 242 against Lanka in 45.2 overs, losing merely three wickets, marking their initial World Cup victory against the Islanders. This achievement was reminiscent of Afghanistan's previous triumph, an eight-wicket win over Babar Azam's team in Chennai on October 23, when they chased down 282, losing only two wickets.

After effortlessly chasing down a middling target against Sri Lanka, Shahidi emphasized the significant boost in their belief and approach derived from their triumphant chase against Pakistan.

"Pakistan chase gave us a lot of confidence and belief that we can chase any kind of target. We started really well in bowling (against SL) and the chase was very professional and I am very happy about it," said Shahidi in the post-match presentation.

Shahidi acknowledged the role of the coaching staff, particularly coach Jonathan Trott, in reshaping their mindset. "Coaches are always positive. We worked very hard before the World Cup. Right now, all the coaching and management staff are working hard and giving us confidence. Before the Pakistan game, coach's (Trott) words changed my and the team's mindset a lot," he added.

Shahidi crafted an undefeated fifty and collaborated with Azmatullah Omarzai in a 111-run partnership for an unbroken fourth-wicket alliance, guiding the Afghan team to victory. Delighted to see the chase through to the end, Shahidi played a pivotal role in completing the chase successfully.

"As a captain you should lead from the front so I am trying my best, I am very happy that I finished the game and I will try to maintain that in upcoming games," he said.

Shahidi also extended gratitude to Indian spectators for their support and presence in the stadiums, expressing his appreciation for the encouragement received from the local fans. "I want to congratulate our nation and I thank Indian people for supporting us and coming to the stadiums."

Shahidi commended the energetic environment fostered by star spinner Rashid Khan, stating that the entire team feeds off Rashid's vibrancy and dynamism.  "Rashid Khan is the best player and he is a very energetic guy, so the whole team is full of energy around him," he said.

Fazal Farooqi, awarded the Man of the Match for grabbing four wickets, highlighted the Afghan bowlers' execution of variations, particularly in the death overs against Sri Lanka. "We struggled in the past in the last overs...gave away too many runs. But we bowled with variations today and the hard work in net sessions helped. We tried to bowl as many variations as possible," he said.

"I looked for swing early on but didn't get it so then I kept it simple and hit the right areas and that was the plan for the spell and I got success in it," he added.

Sri Lankan captain Kusal Mendis expressed disappointment with the team's batting performance, deeming the score of 241 as below par. He believed that an increased score of 280-300 would have been more competitive on the pitch. Mendis also acknowledged the challenges posed by dew, impacting the latter part of their bowling.

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