- The ongoing 50-over Cricket World Cup has thrown some of the most bizarre, incredulous, and sometimes miraculous occurrences during the duration so far. Much-fancied teams like England – the defending champions – have failed to come to terms with the requirements of 50-over cricket by failing to make it to the knockout stage. The way Team England has capitulated to the opposition teams simply defies logic and cricketing sense. The abject batting display has marred this England team big time. Likewise, the Sri Lankan team has failed to live up to their previous reputation built up over solid performances. Mind you, they won the World Cup in 1996 beating all odds.
- Similarly, the perennially unpredictable Pakistan team has failed to light up the tournament but for the last two matches that they have played largely owing to the pyrotechnics of opening batter Fakhar Zaman. The match against New Zealand was won by Pakistan because of the sheer brilliance of Fakhar who tore into the New Zealand attack in Bengaluru with such gusto, flair, and brute firepower. Likewise, Bangladesh has not progressed from being promising to scale up in their quest to take on the more fancied opponents. Remember, Bangladesh has not won any major international multilateral tournament yet even though they were inducted as a full-time member a decade back.
- However, one of the most gratifying aspects emerging out of the ongoing World Cup is the emergence of Afghanistan as a team to reckon among the biggies. Mind you, Team Afghanistan is no pushover in the shortest version of the game as they have made tremendous progress in the format. Yes, they were granted a full Test-playing status a few years back, but haven’t yet made inroads to be considered as a force to reckon with. Nonetheless, this World Cup outing has proved to be one of the most productive for the team having overcome challenges from the opposition of the caliber of England, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. None would have sided with Afghanistan to get better of these opposing teams at the start of the Cup.
PC: The Cricketer
- Team Afghan were always endowed with quality spinners led by the indefatigable leggie Rashid Khan who has bamboozled stalwart cricketers in the shortest format of the game, no less. Most compellingly, this edition of the World Cup has shown the emergence of quality pacers who have showcased to the cricketing world what they are capable of while obtaining swing, seam, and pace upfront. Most importantly, Team Afghan has found some of the most promising batters too who are not afraid to take on the more intimidating opponent bowling with great aplomb. This augurs not only good tidings for the Afghanistan team but also for the overall health of international cricket. Proud of you Team Afghan!