T20 World Cup: Farooqi, Rashid hand Afghanistan comprehensive 84 runs victory over NZ

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Georgetown, June 8 (IANS) Afghanistan has made a massive statement at the ICC Men's T20I World Cup in Guyana by comprehensively defeating New Zealand, one of the tournament heavyweights by 84 runs in Group C match, here at the Providence Stadium.

New Zealand, known for their consistent performances and strong fielding, surprisingly faltered in the field after winning the toss and electing to bowl first, a decision influenced by the looming threat of wet weather. The Kiwis' off night began with several critical errors, including a missed stumping and a fumbled runout by keeper Devon Conway, alongside a dropped catch at deep backward square leg. These mistakes allowed the Afghan openers to capitalize and set a solid foundation.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz was the standout performer with the bat, reaching his second fifty of the tournament and scoring a commanding 80 off 56 balls. Ibrahim Zadran provided excellent support with a handy 44 off 41 deliveries, while Azmatullah Omarzai contributed a quickfire 22 from just 13 balls. Lockie Ferguson eventually broke the partnership by catching Omarzai, but the damage was already done. Afghanistan managed to reach 150 within 19 overs, finishing their innings at 159/6 after New Zealand restricted their scoring in the final over.

Chasing 160, New Zealand's batting lineup crumbled under the pressure applied by Afghanistan's bowlers. Fazalhaq Farooqi delivered a sensational performance, taking 4 wickets for just 17 runs in his 3.2 overs. His early strikes, including the key wickets of Finn Allen, Devon Conway, and Daryl Mitchell, left New Zealand reeling.

Rashid Khan then took center stage, removing New Zealand captain Kane Williamson with his very first ball. Khan's devastating spell saw him claim four wickets for 17 runs in his four overs, including a caught and bowled to dismiss Ferguson. The Afghan bowlers' relentless attack left New Zealand with no chance to build momentum, with Glenn Phillips' run-a-ball 18 being the highest score for the Kiwis.

Brief score:

Afghanistan 159 for 6 in 20 overs (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 80, Ibrahim Zadran 44; Trent Boult 3 2-22, Matt Henry 2-37) beat New Zealand 75 all out in 15.2 overs (Glenn Philips 18; Fazalhaq Farooqi 4-17, Rashid Khan 4-17) by 84 runs.