Opening batsman Rahmanullah Gurbaz has revealed that Afghanistan were determined to shatter their ODI hoodoo against Pakistan ahead of their record-breaking run-chase.
Afghanistan clinched their first-ever ODI triumph over Pakistan when they chased down a target of 283 for the loss of only two wickets at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.
The emphatic victory snapped a seven-match losing streak for Afghanistan against Pakistan in ODIs stretching back to their first encounter in the format in 2012.
Afghanistan have now secured three victories in Cricket World Cups, including one against England earlier in this tournament, but Gurbaz hailed this rousing triumph over their ODI nemesis as “really special”.
“So happy. Big win. That was really special, waiting for a long time for this game. Wow!” Gurbaz told the ICC after the victory.
“Six-seven years we were waiting for this kind of game. Whenever we faced them, they always beat us. That was the first time that we beat them.”
Afghanistan pushed Pakistan to the line at the Cricket World Cup in 2019 but ultimately lost a final-over thriller by three wickets with two balls remaining.
The margin was even tighter when the two teams met in a recent tri-series as Pakistan snatched a one-wicket win off the penultimate delivery, but Afghanistan had fallen well short of their rivals in five other ODI clashes.
“Back home, everyone is so happy, we know that. So excited!” Gurbaz said.
“I was waiting since the last World Cup that we lost against them, and then the Asia Cup, and then the tri-series. I was waiting badly to beat them.”
The 283-run target is now the highest that Afghanistan have successfully chased down in an ODI, and the equal-second highest in a Cricket World Cup with eight or more wickets in hand.
The 21-year-old Gurbaz was pivotal to Afghanistan’s victory with a blazing 65 from 53 balls in a 130-run opening stand alongside Ibrahim Zadran that set up the record-breaking chase.
Ibrahim (87) then steered Afghanistan closer to their target until Rahmat Shah (77*) and captain Hashmatullah Shahidi (48*) completed the chase.
With their Pakistan hoodoo crushed and multiple wins secured in a Cricket World Cup for the first time, Afghanistan can now turn their focus toward a semifinal surge starting in their next match against Sri Lanka on October 30.