Put into bat, Afghanistan were off to a good start with openers Hazratullah Zazai and Noor Ali Zadran forging 66 runs, but a batting collapse ensued with Afghanistan losing three wickets for nothing. Hashmatullah Shahidi’s 59 ensured the Afghans posted a decent 172 which gave their bowlers something to bowl at.
Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib criticised the batting department. “We started really well. Hazrat and Noor were great with the bat. We misread the length of the ball, some of us batsmen, and we threw our wickets away early. So, credit to the Kiwi bowlers,” Naib said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“We have to play out 50 overs, and it is important for us to stay at the wicket. Our bowlers started well. The wickets did not support the fast bowlers.”
Adding to Afghanistan’s woes was the absence of Rashid Khan, who was hit on the head by a Ferguson bouncer and did not play in the rest of the match following a failed concussion test.
“We missed out on Rashid. I just tell the boys to keep calm and show a little more composure in the middle. We missed out on saving some boundaries too and we were not great in the field, so we have a long way to go. The improvement at this high level of cricket will happen day by day,” Naib said.
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