Rashid Khan likely to be taken for treatment
Rashid Khan was hit on the helmet and did not take the field during Afghanistan's fielding. (AFP Image)

TAUNTON: After a blow to the helmet prevented Rashid Khan from taking the field during the second innings of the match between New Zealand and Afghanistan, captain Gulbadin Naib revealed that the legspinner is doing a lot better and that he might be taken to a hospital for further tests.

During 34th over of the Afghanistan innings, Rashid was dealt a blow to the helmet by New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson, after which the ball rolled on to the wicket leading to his dismissal. Initially, there were reports that Rashid might have failed a concussion test, but reports later emerged that not letting Rashid on the ground was a precautionary measure undertaken by Afghanistan.

“He’s feeling now better. If you have a ball bowled at 140-plus kmph hit you, it obviously realise something. The doctor said don’t go to the field but now he’s feeling well. So he needed rest. So obviously we have a couple of days. He’s fine now,” Naib told reporters. “I asked the physio if he needed rest; he had some headache. We have a rest of one week before the next game. So now he’s feeling well. He should go to hospital and check for some tests.”

Rashid’s absence from the field meant that Afghanistan were left handicapped in their defense of 172 against New Zealand. Aftab Alam struck three blows but Kane Williamson’s half-century guided New Zealand home, who now have made it three wins out of three games. Afghanistan, on the other hand, find themselves in the same boat as South Africa, having tasted three straight, early defeats and needing to win almost all their remaining fixtures if they are to make the semis.

“Obviously we played three games already. So we’re trying to put our best in the ground, so everyone, every player is just trying to do his best,” Naib said. “But it’s cricket, so it’s tough cricket, tough team. They didn’t give a single chance to us. So we needed momentum for our batting today. We had a good start in batting, so this is a positive thing, and also with the ball, Aftab and Hamid bowled really well at the start.

“So, this is a small thing. If you go for the good start or winning the match you should be play 50 overs game. So this is most important to find the batting side. And obviously, in this kind of team, you should play and put a good total on the board.

“We run from that. We lost three games. But the morale is still high of the boys. We need one good match, and then it will be difficult for the others.”

Naib rued Afghanistan’s failure to get going after a bright start. Hazratullah Zazai and Noor Ali Zadran added 66 for the opening wickets before Kane Williamson unleashed Jimmy Neesham, who went on to claim 5 for 31, at one point, picking three wickets in three overs. Afghanistan slipped to 70 for 4 before a half-century from Hashmatullah Afridi lifted them to 172.

“Obviously we played three games already. So we’re trying to put our best in the ground, so everyone, every player is just trying to do his best,” Naib said. “But it’s cricket, so it’s tough cricket, tough team. They didn’t give a single chance to us. So we needed momentum for our batting today. We had a good start in batting, so this is a positive thing, and also with the ball, Aftab and Hamid bowled really well at the start.

“So, this is a small thing. If you go for the good start or winning the match you should be play 50 overs game. So this is most important to find the batting side. And obviously, in this kind of team, you should play and put a good total on the board.

“We run from that. We lost three games. But the morale is still high of the boys. We need one good match, and then it will be difficult for the others.”

Another thing which Naib felt Afghanistan could have done better with was their shot selection.

“So shot selection is not good,” Nabi said. “So wicket was really good for the day, for the seamers. Because of the shower, the rainy weather, the ball was skidding. It did not not go according to plan. We needed someone in the middle of the wicket. So this way we missed. We threw away wickets to bad shots. Had we lasted 50 overs, maybe the score would have not been what it was.”