Afghanistan’s Confidence Soars After India Match

“I thought the way that they played – Rahmat’s very disappointed not to have you know been there at the end…reports Asian Lite News

Though Afghanistan lost to hosts’ India in 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup, head coach Jonathan Trott believes that match gave his team some confidence from a batting perspective, which has propelled them to win four matches, latest of which came over the Netherlands.

At the Ekana Cricket Stadium on Friday, Afghanistan chased down a paltry 180 in 31.3 overs, making this their third straight clinical run-chase in a row, thus keeping their semi-final hopes alive.

“I think we saw a bit of form coming into the side against India. Obviously we lost the game but then that gave us a bit of confidence. I said we’d lost so many close games leading into the series against Pakistan and then in the Asia Cup.”

“I just said we just need to start 1-1 or 2 and we’ll get that confidence and belief and a bit of a spring in our step and that we can win those close games but also dominate games if we get the opportunity to,” said Trott in the post-match press conference.

Afghanistan, who are now in fifth place in the points table, will be facing off against Australia and South Africa in their last two league stage matches. “There’s certain things we need to get better. We need to improve on for the next game against Australia in Mumbai.”

“But I saw a lot of good things as well that’s going to stand us in good stead going forward against the likes of Australia and South Africa the next two games. Plenty to work on but also plenty to be pleased about and excited about flying to Mumbai tomorrow with another victory and two days of practice and ready for the match,” added Trott.

Talking about the partnership between captain Hashmatullah Shahidi and Rahmat Shah, who now have partnerships of 96 not out, 58 and 74 against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Netherlands respectively, Trott said, “It’s just about getting themselves in and not forgetting to score as well. Trying to be positive and looking to score boundaries and look to put the pressure on the bowler in their own way through their own skills and then waiting and making sure as well, capitalizing when they get a chance to hit a boundary.”

“I thought the way that they played – Rahmat’s very disappointed not to have you know been there at the end. But I thought the way that Azmat came in and played as well was great. It’s good to see the captain there hitting the winning runs and batting through again.”

Afghanistan have also been very good at judging the nature of the pitches and making changes to their bowling combination accordingly. After playing four spinners against Pakistan, Afghanistan got left-arm wrist-spinner Noor Ahmad in, with Naveen-ul-Haq being left out. Trott put it down to being on the luckier side of having quality bowling options.

“We are lucky to have the quality of players to choose from. A lot of teams, you don’t have the option of playing four spinners, or the quality of the four spinners. The way Noor came in, I thought he bowled brilliantly as well, I should say. But he then didn’t play in Pune, it didn’t look like it was going to spin, and he was brilliant with it.”

“As a player as well, it’s good to be able to learn from those disappointments, but then he got the opportunity, as his mindset was so good. He didn’t sulk in Pune. Naveen being left out today wasn’t sulking. His home ground from the IPL and it’s just how it is.”

“It’s all about what the team needs and what’s best for the team and selecting for that. I thought Fazal got left out in Chennai and came back and did brilliantly in Pune. It’s important to change in a long tournament like this and it’s good to see the guys doing that. But we get to Mumbai, different conditions, different ground and we’ll see we’ll pick the best 11 for that match,” he concluded.

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