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T20 World Cup 2024: Focussed on our own skills rather than opposition, says Rashid Khan

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Rashid Khan always wanted his teammates to have faith in their own abilities rather than fret over opposition’s strengths and that’s what they did during Afghanistan’s memorable 84-run victory over New Zealand in the T20 World Cup group league game.

Defending 159, Afghanistan shot out New Zealand for 75 with left-arm seamer Fazalhaq Farooqui and the skipper himself decimating the opposition with four wickets apiece.

“Now, we need to beat the teams in our own skills rather than think about the opposition much 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 skipper, it is the effort that matters more than the results as he believes that if a team is good enough, the result takes care of itself.

READ MORE | NZ vs AFG, T20 World Cup 2024: Gurbaz-Ibrahim register second consecutive hundred partnership

“It doesn’t matter whoever we play the opposition it’s more about how good you are how good you’re going to play and what type of energy you coming with into the ground and that for me is very important.

“I don’t much care about the result a lot to be honest. I more care about the effort we put it’s a batting, bowling fielding, that’s something which gives me lots of pleasure.

“It’s fine as long as you give a hundred per cent and you are happy with your efforts at the end of the day.”

In last year’s ODI World Cup, Afghanistan famously stunned England, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, while in the 2016 T20 World Cup the side had 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 performance from the guys,” said the skipper who starred in his masterful bowling act of 4/17.

READ MORE | AFG vs NZ, T20 World Cup 2024: Afghanistan pulls off upset win over New Zealand

Rahmanullah Gurbaz blasted 80 from 56 deliveries while fellow opener Ibrahim Zadran added 44 from 41 to give them a flying start.

In reply, left-arm seamer Farooqi, who claimed five wickets against Uganda on Monday, grabbed 4/17 from just 3.2 overs, matching his skipper’s bowling figures.

“It’s not just about a single guy, you know, winning the game. 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 wouldn’t care about time differences when national team’s match is aired live.

READ MORE | Pitch perfect: How West Indies pitches evolved for T20 World Cup

“They don’t miss our games. We play at 3 AM, 4 AM or 1 AM, 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. That’s the kind of beauty we have back home in Afghanistan in the people. They give us the kind of support and love which does motivate us inside the ground.

“Cricket is a big source of happiness back home. And I’m very sure this will give them so much to enjoy, to celebrate this victory.”

Williamson blames it on sloppy fielding

New Zealand was sloppy in the field and wasted multiple opportunities to dismiss the Afghan opening pair which made 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 its first match after more than two weeks.

“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.

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