New Delhi: The Afghanistan cricket team stunned Pakistan with a convincing eight-wicket win in the World Cup 2023 match in Chennai on Saturday. It was Afghanistan’s second upset victory in the tournament after they had beaten England earlier. Afghanistan chased down the target of 283 runs with ease, losing only two wickets in the process. The star of the show was opener Ibrahim Zadran, who scored a brilliant 87 off 69 balls and was awarded the Player of the Match trophy.
However, Zadran’s post-match statement was more remarkable than his innings, as he expressed his solidarity with the Afghan refugees who are being forced to leave Pakistan by November 1. Zadran said, “I want to dedicate this Player of the Match award to those people who are being sent back home from Pakistan to Afghanistan.”
Zadran’s statement came at a time when Pakistan issued an ultimatum to all the undocumented refugees from Afghanistan to exit the country by next month. This decision has affected about 1.7 million illegal Afghan refugees living in Pakistan. According to Pakistani officials, more than 50,000 illegal refugees have been deported to Afghanistan since the announcement of the deadline. The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has also strongly criticized this move and called it unacceptable.
Zadran’s statement resonated with many people on social media, especially on Instagram, where some users compared his sentiments to Pakistani wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan’s pro-Palestinian comments.
As far as the match is concerned, Zadran and Rahmanullah Gurbaz gave Afghanistan a flying start by adding 130 runs for the first wicket. After Gurbaz fell for 63, captain Hashmatullah Shahidi and Rahmat Shah played sensibly and guided the team to victory. Shahidi remained unbeaten on 74, while Shah scored 36 not out. For Pakistan, only Shaheen Afridi and Hasan Ali could take a wicket each. Earlier, Pakistan had posted 282 for 9 in their 50 overs, thanks to half-centuries from Babar Azam (68), Mohammad Rizwan (59) and Shoaib Malik (51). For Afghanistan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan took three wickets each.