Afghanistan secured a convincing seven-wicket win against the Netherlands in Lucknow, wrapping up the game with a remarkable 111 balls to spare.This victory marked their fourth win in the tournament, having previously surprised and defeated strong teams like England, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
With two group stage matches remaining, Afghanistan has accumulated eight points. This places them on par with Australia and New Zealand, although their competitors hold superior run rates.
India remain unbeaten and have already secured a spot in the semi-finals, while South Africa appear to be on the verge of joining them in the next stage of the tournament.
“A message to our country back home. We know that people are struggling, we are with them. I dedicate this win to them,” said 28-year-old Hashmatullah.
“We are still dreaming and we are still trying our best to make the semi-final. That would be such a big achievement for our country and for me.”
Before this year, Afghanistan had won only one match at World Cups and that was against Scotland on their debut in 2015.
Four years ago, in the United Kingdom, they lost all nine games they played.
On Friday, set 180 to win, Rahmat Shah (52) hit his third successive half-century while Hashmatullah made an undefeated 56, also his third fifty in a row.
Veteran off-spinner Mohammad Nabi was man-of-the-match for his 3-28.
“Mohammad Nabi is a special player. He is so talented and he loves to take responsibility with the ball like he did today,” said Hashmatullah.
Next up for Afghanistan on Tuesday is a potential grudge match against five-time champions Australia.
In January, Australia controversially cancelled a series against Afghanistan in protest, they claimed, at the Taliban’s treatment of women.
“We have good team unity. We are very united and we are always playing for the team and winning for the team,” added Hashmatullah.
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The Netherlands, who have stunned South Africa and Bangladesh at the tournament, were undone Friday by four run-outs.
“The run-outs were hard to come back from, we set ourselves up for a good total. They have quality spinners through the middle and we didn’t have our top order batters to face them,” said skipper Scott Edwards.
“We’ve done well batting first, defending scores. We thought if we scored 280 we’d be well in the game.”
(With AFP inputs)