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Fazalhaq Farooqi’s Five-For, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran Power Afghanistan To 125-Run Win Over Uganda





Afghanistan pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi produced a fiery spell after Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran’s solid opening partnership to begin their T20 World Cup campaign with a comprehensive 125-run victory over debutants Uganda in Guyana. Kolkata Knight Riders opener Gurbaz (76 off 45 balls) and his partner Zadran’s (70 off 46 balls) struck fluent fifties to register the second highest opening partnership (154) in the men’s T20 World Cup as Afghanistan posted a challenging 183/5 after being asked to bat. Left-arm pacer Farooqi (5/9) then knocked the wind out of the Ugandan batting line up with his maiden five-wicket haul as the debutants were shot out for 58 in 16 overs.

“The kind of start we wanted as a team. Does not matter who we play, it is about the mindset. The hard work we have done in the last few weeks, the way the openers started and the way our bowlers bowled – it was a great overall team effort,” skipper and country’s biggest cricket icon Rashid Khan said after the match.

The skipper, who himself polished off the tail, expressed his excitement of leading the country at a global event.

“Super exciting, proud feeling to be leading the team in the World Cup. Enjoying it so far, and have some tough games coming up. That is the beauty of this team. We have so many options and that makes it easy as a captain,” world’s premier T20 spinner said.

Seamer Farooqi was twice on the brink of claiming a hat-trick. He was lethal with the new ball. After being hit for a four off his first delivery, he bowled a brilliant in-swinger which clipped off Ronak Patel’s bat before crashing onto the stumps. He then trapped Roger Mukasa leg before wicket with another in swinger off consecutive balls.

“I have missed it (getting the hat-trick) a few times (smiles). Something that is not under my control and if I get a chance again, I will try to get that hat-trick,” Farooqi said while collecting his ‘Player of the Match’ award.

Farooqi then returned in the 13th over to snare three more wickets to register his career best figure in T20Is.

He first deceived Riazat Ali Shah with slower delivery to bowl him out before forcing skipper Brian Masaba to nick the ball with an eager Gurbaz collecting it.

He missed out on a hat-trick again but claimed is fifth victim in the last ball of the over.

“I kept it simple and wanted to hit the wickets. Playing franchise cricket helps you improve and helps on the big stage as well. Playing with so many big players, it helps in dealing with pressure and in bowling in the right areas,” said Farooqi, who has played for SRH in previous editions of IPL.

Earlier with the ball coming onto the bat nicely and a fast outfield, Afghanistan’s openers started strong. Gurbaz assumed the role of the aggressor first as he smacked the second balls of the innings for a six.

Zadran quickly followed suit, hitting four consecutive boundaries in the sixth over off Dinesh Nakrani.

By the end of the first powerplay, Afghanistan was scoring at an impressive rate of 11 runs per over.

Gurbaz, who four boundraies and as many sixes, raced to his fifty off just 28 balls in the ninth over. While Zadran, who sent the the ball to the fence nine time and over it once, reached his half century in the 12th over.

Uganda’s poor fielding only added to their woes.

Gurabaz was dropped off a no ball in the 14 over which yielded 25 runs as the Afghanistan raced to 150.

It looked like the duo would bat the full 20 overs but Uganda bowlers fought back and kept the total under 200.

Afghanistan’s next challenge will be infinitely tougher against a formidable New Zealand side.

“Big game for us. It is about keeping things simple,” said Rashid. 

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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