In a thrilling encounter at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow, Afghanistan showcased their mettle, surging past the Netherlands to claim a crucial 7-wicket victory in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.
This impressive win propelled Afghanistan to fifth place in the points table, ousting Pakistan, and reviving their hopes of securing a semi-final berth.
Afghanistan’s emphatic triumph, their fourth in the 2023 World Cup, catapulted them to eight points from seven matches. Notably, this victory also ensured their participation in the 2025 Champions Trophy, as they cannot finish below eighth place in the points table.
The clash commenced spectacularly, with spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman claiming the scalp of Dutch opener Wesley Barresi LBW in the very first over.
However, Max O’Dowd and Colin Ackermann orchestrated a spirited comeback for the Netherlands, forging a crucial 70-run partnership. The equilibrium was disrupted by Azmatullah Omarzai’s remarkable fielding effort, a direct hit that terminated O’Dowd’s innings at 42 runs off 40 deliveries.
Ackermann’s fate mirrored O’Dowd’s, as he fell victim to another run-out in the 18th over. Dutch captain Scott Edwards met a similar fate, being run out on the next delivery.
Subsequently, the trio of Bas de Leede, Saqib Zulfiqar, and Logan van Beek struggled to bolster the Netherlands’ scorecard.
Notably, this encounter etched an unprecedented chapter in the history of ODI cricket, with four of the top-five batters of a team falling victim to run-outs.
Afghanistan’s bowling unit delivered a clinical performance, with Mohammad Nabi securing three wickets and young spinner Noor Ahmad contributing with two crucial dismissals. The Netherlands was bundled out for 179 runs in 45.3 overs.
In pursuit of a modest target of 180 runs, Afghanistan faced an early setback with the loss of hard-hitting Rahmanullah Gurbaz.
Ibrahim Zadran also departed after scoring 20 runs off 34 balls. However, Rahmat Shah and captain Hashmatullah Shahidi stepped up, constructing a vital partnership that gradually wrested control away from the Netherlands.
Rahmat Shah continued his remarkable form, notching his third consecutive half-century in the ongoing World Cup, before being dismissed after accumulating 52 runs from 54 balls.
Following his departure, Shahidi guided the team towards victory, securing his 19th ODI half-century. Azmatullah Omarzai provided unwavering support with an unbeaten 31.
In the end, Afghanistan chased down the 180-run target with 7 wickets and 18.3 overs to spare, sealing a resounding win.
With their triumph over the Netherlands, Afghanistan now shifts their focus to a formidable clash against 5-time champions Australia, scheduled at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday, November 7.