Afghanistan’s path to their first-ever World Cup semifinals is solely in their hands, with luck playing no role in their journey.
In the crucial ODI 34 match against the Netherlands, Afghanistan’s bowlers struck early, with Mujeeb Ur Rahman removing Wesley Barresi in the first over. Max O’Dowd’s efforts were curtailed by a smart move from the Afghan captain, leading to his dismissal at 42 off 40 balls.
In a game-changing moment, Max O’Dowd’s promising innings came to an abrupt halt as Afghanistan capitalized on a brilliant run-out opportunity. O’Dowd, who had been striking the ball exceptionally well, attempted a paddle-sweep to fine leg, aiming for a second run.
However, Azmatullah’s precise throw from fine leg found the target at the keeper’s end, leaving O’Dowd with no chance, despite his desperate dive.
The dismissal, a result of O’Dowd’s own call, left him visibly distraught on the field. The delivery, clocking at 89.3kph, ended O’Dowd’s impressive stint at 42 runs off 40 balls, featuring nine boundaries. Afghanistan seized this opening, showcasing their sharp fielding skills and strategic gameplay, adding to the intensity of the crucial match.
Both teams face off in a pivotal match, where Afghanistan’s formidable spin attack, featuring Rashid Khan, Noor Ahmad, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammed Nabi, could capitalize on the Lucknow pitch’s spin-friendly conditions.
The Dutch, being the second slowest team against spin in the tournament, would rely on captain Scott Edwards’ experience to counter the spin threats, with an impressive average of 65.92 against spin in ODIs.