Afghanistan`s captain Rashid Khan always wanted his fellow teammates to believe in their abilities instead of worrying about their opposition`s strengths. During the T20 World Cup 2024 match against New Zealand, Rashid Khan-led Afghans registered a memorable 84-run win.

While defending 160 runs target in the T20 World Cup 2024 match, Afghanistan bowled out New Zealand for 75 runs. Rashid himself bagged four wickets for 17 runs in four overs.

“Now, we need to beat the teams with our own skills rather than think about the opposition and that`s the only thing I have been telling the guys like just make sure we look into our skills,” Rashid said during the post-match presentation ceremony.

For the Afghan skipper what matters the most is the team efforts as he believes that if a team is good enough, results take care of itself. “It doesn`t matter whoever we play, it`s more about how good you are, how good you`re going to play and what type of energy you are coming with into the ground and that for me is very important.

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“I don`t care about the result a lot to be honest. I care more about the effort we put in, that`s something which gives me lots of pleasure.” In last year`s ODI World Cup, Afghanistan famously stunned England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, while in the 2016 T20 World Cup, they secured a memorable win over eventual champions West Indies.

“We haven`t had those victories in T20 World Cups. We had in ODI, but in T20, I feel like this was one of the best performances from the guys,” said the skipper who starred in his masterful bowling act of 4/17.

Batting first in the T20 World Cup 2024 match against NZ, Afghan`s Rahmanullag Gurbaz smashed 80 runs off 56 deliveries who was shouldered by Ibrahim Zadran who accumulated 44 runs in 41 balls. While defending the target, pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi claimed four wickets for 17 runs with his captain Rashid registering the same figures.

“It`s not just about a single guy…it`s a great team effort, the way Gurbaz and Ibrahim started the innings. For Afghans, cricket is their biggest source of joy and Rashid was thankful to the fans, who don`t care about the time difference when the national team`s match is aired live.

“They don`t miss our games. We play at 3am, 4am or 1am, they`re always up. Not only in Afghanistan, all around the world, wherever they are, they`re going to watch the game. They don`t miss the game.

“Cricket is the biggest source of happiness back home. And I`m very sure this will give them so much to enjoy, to celebrate this victory,” he said.

New Zealand were sloppy in the field and wasted multiple opportunities to dismiss the Afghan opening pair which stitched together a 103-run stand.

“Our fielding didn`t help our cause without a doubt. That would be the most frustrating part for me. It is something we pride ourselves on so that was very disappointing.”

New Zealand arrived for the World Cup on May 23, only to play their first match after more than two weeks. “I mean look everybody`s preparation was different and for us it`s just head down and focusing on what we can do and prepare as well as we can. We certainly did that to the best of our ability. So, no excuses, but yeah, incredibly frustrating performance-wise,” he added.

(With PTI Inputs)

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