Afghanistan cricket team captain Hashmatullah Shahidi expressed his delight and hunger for more success after leading his team to a landmark victory over England in the World Cup group match at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium on Sunday.
Notably, Afghanistan secured a stunning 69-run win over England in the first major upset of the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. Afghanistan bundled England out for 215 to script just their second Cricket World Cup win, eight years since their last against Scotland in Australia. This time, it was the defending champions at the receiving end.
Shahidi acknowledged the impactful role played by the opening batsmen in setting a solid foundation for their win. The captain particularly praised Gurbaz and Ikram, with the latter receiving high admiration for seizing the opportunity given to him after a two-year wait.
“I’m quite happy, all the teammates are happy. This is the best win for us, the confidence will be there for the next game and I’m very proud. The openers get a lot of credit. They gave us a great start but unfortunately, we lost back-to-back wickets in the middle again, lot of credit to the openers though, especially Gurbaz. Ikram was with us for the last 2 years and didn’t get a lot of chances, today I believed in him and gave him a chance and he repaid my faith,” Hashmatullah Shahidi said in the post-match presentation ceremony.
Shahidi appreciated Mujeeb’s stellar all-round performance, which played a crucial role in the team’s victory, while also acknowledging the need for the team’s batting lineup to score more to support their spinners. Shahidi reflected on how the first wicket, taken by Fazal, provided them a significant momentum.
“Mujeeb batted brilliantly, he led from the front and scored important runs for us. We have to score runs, our batting lineup needs to score more for our spinners. We have a lot of confidence about our spinners. Fazal started very well, the first wicket gave us a lot of momentum. When I was batting, I realized the wicket wasn’t supportive for batters against spinners. I told the boys that 280-290 will be enough when I got back into the dressing room. I want to say that the belief, trust and talent is there. Last couple of games we didn’t finish well but the belief is there. This is just the first win, we are looking for more in the tournament. This was just the first one, not the last one,” Shahidi added.
While acknowledging that early struggles saw them fail to finish strongly in several games, Shahidi affirmed their conviction remains intact. This victory, while substantial, is viewed by the captain as the first of many the team aims to achieve during the tournament.