Pakistan sank to their third consecutive defeat in the World Cup, losing to Afghanistan for the first time ever in ODI cricket.
Pakistan sank to a third consecutive loss in the 2023 World Cup on Monday and a particularly bruising one at that as it was their first ever loss in ODI cricket to Afghanistan. Usually known for their star-studded spin attack, Afghanistan showed their batting calibre in Chennai during the match, chasing down a target of 283 with eight wickets and an over to spare.
The result is a major blow to Pakistan’s chances of making it to the semi-final. Babar Azam’s side were touted by many before the start of the tournament to make it to the final four but they are now fifth in the table with five matches played. They have four points and a net run rate of -0.400. Fourth-placed Australia, with whom Pakistan are currently tied on points, have a game in hand on them and they could hence open up a gap if they beat the Netherlands in their next match. Moreover, Pakistan are already two points adrift of third place and a whopping four points behind first-placed India.
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It was against India that Pakistan’s current run of losses began. Pakistan had won their first matches before , even breaking their record for highest succesfull run chase against Sri Lanka, before they sank to a seven-wicket loss to India. They then lost to Australia by 62 runs before the stunning loss to Afghanistan. The match against India was followed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) lodging a complaint with the International Cricket Council (ICC) about the chants that the home fans directed at the Pakistani players. Head coach Mickey Arthur also made the headlines by stating after the game that it felt more like a “BCCI event” than an ICC tournament.
“It didn’t seem like an ICC event to be brutally honest. It seemed like a bilateral series; it seemed like a BCCI event. I didn’t hear Dil Dil Pakistan coming through the microphones too often tonight,” he had said. Arthur’s comments had been criticised by many and on Monday, former England captain Michael Vaughan took a veiled dig at it after the match against Afghanistan. “I presume ‘Dil Dil’ Pakistan wasn’t played in Chennai today,” he said on the social media website X.
Pakistan’s historic capitulation
Babar had won the toss and said that Pakistan would be batting first at Chepauk. His 74 off 92 and Abdullah Shafique’s 58 off 75 helped Pakistan to a score of 282/7. Youngster Noor Ahmad emerged as the pick of the bowlers for Afghanistan. Ahmed picked up three wickets and leaked 49 runs to record his career-best figures.
While it was expected to be a steep chase for Afghanistan, a combination of their batters being clinical and Pakistan committing some comical mistakes in the field helped the former stay in control for much of the chase. Openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz (65) and Ibrahim Zadran (87) added 130 runs for the first wicket before Rahmat Shah (77*) joined forces with captain Shahidi (48*) to seal Afghanistan’s eight-wicket win over Pakistan.