Lucknow: The Afghanistan cricket team continued their impressive run in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 by defeating Netherlands (AFG vs NED) by 7 wickets in the 34th match played at Ekana Stadium in Lucknow on Friday. This was Afghanistan’s fourth win in the tournament and third in a row, after beating Pakistan and Sri Lanka in their previous matches. With this win, Afghanistan moved up to the fifth spot in the points table with 8 points from 7 matches, surpassing Pakistan’s net run rate. Afghanistan still has a chance to qualify for the semi-finals if they win their remaining two matches against Bangladesh and England and hope for favorable results from other matches.
Chasing a modest target of 180 runs, Afghanistan reached 181 for 3 in 31.3 overs with ease. Rahmat Shah and captain Hashmatullah Shahidi scored half-centuries and shared a 94-run partnership for the third wicket. Rahmat Shah scored 52 runs off 54 balls with 8 fours, while Shahidi remained unbeaten on 56 runs off 66 balls with 6 fours. Opener Ibrahim Zadran contributed 20 runs, while Rahmanullah Gurbaz was dismissed for 10 runs.
Earlier, Netherlands were bowled out for 179 runs in 46.3 overs despite a valiant knock by Sybrand Engelbrecht, who scored 58 runs off 86 balls with 6 fours. He was the only batsman to offer some resistance against Afghanistan’s spin attack, which dominated the proceedings. The Netherlands lost their first wicket in the first over when Wesley Baresi was caught behind for 1 run off Mujeeb ur Rahman. Max O’Dowd and Colin Ackerman then added 70 runs for the second wicket in quick time, scoring 42 runs off 40 balls and 29 runs off 35 balls respectively. O’Dowd hit 9 fours, while Ackerman hit 4 fours in their innings.
However, Netherlands’ innings collapsed after the runouts of O’Dowd and Ackerman, followed by the dismissal of captain Bas De Leede for a duck. The Netherlands slipped from 73 for 1 to 92 for 5 in the span of 20 overs, as Afghanistan’s fielders showed great agility and accuracy. Engelbrecht tried to rebuild the innings with the lower order but found little support from the other end. Afghanistan’s wicketkeeper Ikram Alikhil had a brilliant day behind the stumps, as he was involved in six dismissals, including three runouts, one stumping, and two catches. Mohammad Nabi was the most successful bowler for Afghanistan, taking 3 wickets for 28 runs in 10 overs. Noor Ahmed also claimed 2 wickets, while Mujeeb ur Rahman took 1 wicket.