ANI Photo | “We created a lot of chances for semis through our talent, skills,” says Afghanistan’s Rashid on WC 2023 campaign

Star Afghanistan all-rounder Rashid Khan expressed happiness at his team’s memorable ICC Cricket World Cup campaign in India, saying that almost making it to the semifinals has given them a lot of self-belief and the next edition of the tournament in 2027 is going to be an exciting one for the team.
Afghanistan lost to South Africa in their final World Cup match on Friday. Despite not being able to qualify for the semifinals, the campaign has been memorable for Afghans. They secured wins in four of their nine matches and almost qualified for the semifinals. The rising Asian side recorded big wins over defending champions England and former world champions Sri Lanka and Pakistan. They also won a game against the Netherlands. Though they registered a loss against Australia due to a miraculous rescue by Glenn Maxwell (201*) in the run-chase of 292, they had the five-time champions on the ropes at 91/7.
“We just enjoyed our competition (the World Cup). We enjoyed our cricket and that is how we performed so well. We reached this point and have that belief now that “we can”. We made a lot of chances to qualify for the semifinals, we created those chances through our talent and skills. It did not happen by itself. Everyone should be proud of it, especially the youngsters, a lot of who are having their first-ever ODI WC. We did a lot of things very well and winning the games in WC is massive for us. After this WC, there is a lot of responsibility on us, to not just participate, but to win games and set a mindset of going into the semis or finals,” said Rashid in a video by ICC.

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Rashid said that the team is improving day by day and learning continuously.
“Back home in Afghanistan, there is natural talent. That is the beauty of Afghanistan, we do not have much facilities, grounds, academies and coaching staff. We have youngsters and players get better by coming to the national side,” added Rashid.
On the 2027 ICC Cricket World Cup to be held in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, Rashid said, “It is going to be an exciting 2027 for us. A lot of young guns will come by then. We will try our best. We have four years and it is a lot of time to work on ourselves.”
There were several stars made during Afghanistan’s WC campaign. Though a team known for its strong bowling, the batting also stepped up big time. Openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran often provided the team with fiery starts and the middle order also stabilised the innings well in case of a collapse. Zadran also became Afghanistan’s first WC centurion.
Zadran (376 in nine matches at an average of 47.00 with one century, one fifty), Azmatullah Omarzai (353 runs in nine matches at an average of 70.60, with three fifties in eight innings and seven wickets), Rahmat Shah (320 runs in nine matches at an average of 40.00 with three fifties), skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi (310 runs in nine matches at an average of 51.66 with three fifties), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (280 runs in nine matches at an average of 31.11 with two fifties), Rashid Khan (105 runs in nine matches at an average of 21.00 and 11 wickets), Mohammed Nabi, Mujeeb ur Rahman and Naveen ul-Haq (eight wickets each) delivered vital contributions for the team. (ANI)

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