NEW DELHI: Afghanistan secured a convincing seven-wicket victory over the Netherlands, significantly bolstering their prospects of advancing to the World Cup semi-finals.
In pursuit of a target of 180, Afghanistan achieved the victory with 111 balls to spare, marking their fourth win in the tournament alongside previous triumphs over reigning champions England, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.
World Cup 2023: Afghanistan beat Netherlands by seven wickets
With this win, Afghanistan reached a total of eight points, placing them on par with Australia and New Zealand, who currently occupy two of the semi-final qualifying positions.
The undefeated Indian team has already secured their spot in the last four, while South Africa appears poised to join them.
Next on Afghanistan’s agenda is a potential showdown against five-time champions Australia, a match carrying extra significance due to a controversial cancellation of a series by Australia against Afghanistan in January. The cancellation was made in protest, citing concerns over the Taliban’s treatment of women.
During the match, Rahmat Shah showcased his consistent form by scoring his third consecutive half-century for Afghanistan, with skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi contributing an unbeaten 56 runs, marking his third consecutive fifty in the tournament.
Rahmat had previously posted scores of 77 against Pakistan and 62 in the victory over Sri Lanka. His 54-ball 52, studded with eight boundaries, and a solid 74-run third-wicket partnership with Hashmatullah played a pivotal role in Afghanistan’s successful chase.
In the earlier innings, Afghanistan’s bowlers effectively restricted the Netherlands, limiting them to a total of 179 all out.
The Netherlands, despite having a slim hope of making it to the semi-finals, won the toss and chose to bat but faced challenges due to four of their batsmen being run-out.
Their recovery from the early dismissal of 39-year-old opener Wesley Barresi by spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman in the first over was short-lived.
Max O’Dowd and Colin Ackermann put on a 70-run partnership for the second wicket, but a series of calamities derailed their progress. Afghanistan’s bowlers, including Mohammad Nabi and teenage wrist spinner Noor Ahmad, made critical contributions, with Nabi taking three wickets for 28 runs.
Sybrand Engelbrecht’s resistance came to an end when he became the fourth run-out of the innings, leaving the Dutch at 152-8 before they were ultimately bowled out after 46.3 overs.