Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran shared a second consecutive century stand which led Afghanistan to an 84-run win over New Zealand on Friday and put it in charge of Group C at cricket’s Twenty20 World Cup.

Gurbaz and Ibrahim put on 154 in a 125-run win over Uganda in Afghanistan’s opening match and made 103 for the first wicket in a total of 159-6 as Afghanistan batted first after New Zealand won the toss.

Afghanistan beat New Zealand in T20 world cup 2024
Photo: Afghanistan beat New Zealand in T20 world cup 2024

Fazalhaq Farooqi and Rashid Khan both took 4-17 as New Zealand was bowled out for 75 in the 16th over, its fourth-lowest T20 total.

Earlier Friday in Dallas, Nicholas Kirton scored 49 off 35 balls to help Canada earn its first win at a T20 World Cup by 12 runs over Ireland. In the third match Friday in New York, Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka by two wickets with six balls remaining in a tense match, consigning Sri Lanka to its second consecutive loss in Group D.

Gurbaz finally was out in the 20th over, having made 80 from 56 balls with five fours and five sixes. The Afghanistan innings contained nine sixes and 10 fours.

“We were waiting for this match for the last three years,” Gurbaz said. “We played them at the World Cup three years ago and they beat us. Finally we beat them. We had the trust and belief in ourselves from the very start.”

New Zealand came into the tournament as one of the favorites after reaching at least the semifinals at the last six white-ball World Cups — 50-over one-day internationals and Twenty20 matches.

But it also came into its opening match with no local warm-up match and with most players having been inactive for some time. That showed in the field where their performance featured dropped catches, overthrows and misfields.

“Afghanistan outplayed us in all facets of the game,” New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said. “From our perspective it wasn’t good enough in terms of starting a tournament. Very frustrating.”

Source: AP News

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