Afghanistan clueless about favourable NRR combinations in heart-breaking Asia Cup exit

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 Afghanistan head coach Jonathan Trott has stated that they weren’t aware of

the net run rate (NRR) permutations which might have worked to their benefit during their last group clash against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup 2023.

Having lost to Bangladesh earlier in the Asia Cup encounter, Afghanistan’s final group game was a must-win game. Not only did they have to beat Sri Lanka but also take care of the NRR, so that they ended among the top-two sides in Group B, and qualified for the Super Four.

Sri Lanka batted first and got to 291/8 in their allotted overs.

While Afghanistan could’ve qualified if they got to the target of 292 in 37.1 overs, the team was seemingly unaware of other favourable combinations, which would’ve kept their hopes alive till

38.1 overs, an ICC report said.

Big hitting from the likes of Mohammed Nabi, and Hashmatullah Shahidi, got them to 289/8 in 37 overs. However, assuming that they needed three off the very next ball to overtake Sri Lanka by NRR, Mujeeb Ur Rahman lofted one to the deep and ended up losing his wicket.

Disappointment was writ large over Afghanistan players’ faces. Believing that they were already out of the competition, the No. 11, Fazalhaq Farooqi, tried to play out the over instead of rotating the strike to Rashid Khan. Off the fourth ball of the over, he was dismissed lbw while trying to play a defensive prod.

In reality, Afghanistan could’ve overtaken Sri Lanka by NRR if they’d reached 293 at 37.2 overs, 294 at 37.3, 295 at 37.5, 296 at 38 and 297 at 38.1.

Afghanistan head coach Trott discussed the incident after the game, and added that his team weren’t aware of the many NRR permutations.

“We were never communicated with those calculations,” Trott said. “All we were communicated, was that we needed to win in 37.1 overs.

“We weren’t told what the overs in which we could get to 295 or 297. That we could qualify till 38.1 overs was never communicated to us,” he added.

Looking back at his team’s performance, Trott stated that his team could’ve done better had they bowled out the opposition cheaply.

“I don’t think there’s one reason we lost the game. There are areas of the game we could have done better,” he said.

“And that goes for today’s game and the one against Bangladesh. We got some things horribly wrong in a few areas and it’s cost us. It’d be nice if we’d bowled them out a bit cheaper. But it wasn’t to be,”

Trott added.

While Afghanistan bow out of the Asia Cup, Sri Lanka will feature in the Super Four round.

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