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Afghanistan trounce Uganda by 125 runs to start campaign

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Providence, June 4: Pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi produced a fiery spell after Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran struck half centuries in a solid opening partnership as Afghanistan began their T20 World Cup campaign with a comprehensive 125-run victory over debutants Uganda here.
Kolkata Knight Riders opener Gurbaz (76 off 45 balls) and his partner Zadran (70 off 46 balls) registered the second highest opening partnership (154) in the men’s T20 World Cup as Afghanistan posted a challenging 183/5 after being asked to bat.
Left-arm pacer Farooqi (5/9) then knocked the wind out of the Ugandan batting line-up with his maiden five-wicket haul. The debutants were shot out for 58 in 16 overs.“The kind of start we wanted as a team. Does not matter who we play, it is about the mindset,” skipper and country’s biggest cricket icon Rashid Khan said after the match.
“The hard work we have done in the last few weeks, the way the openers started and the way our bowlers bowled – it was a great overall team effort,” Rashid, who polished off the tail, added.
“That is the beauty of this team. We have so many options and that makes it easy as a captain,” world’s premier T20 spinner gushed.
Seamer Farooqi was twice on the brink of claiming a hat-trick. He was lethal with the new ball.After being hit for a four off his first delivery, he bowled a brilliant in-swinger which clipped Ronak Patel’s bat before crashing onto the stumps. He then trapped Roger Mukasa leg before wicket with a similar delivery.
“I have missed it (getting the hat-trick) a few times (smiles). Something that is not under my control and if I get a chance again, I will try to get that hat-trick,” Farooqi said while collecting his ‘Player of the Match’ award.Naveen-ul-Haq also picked up two wickets in his first over, leaving Uganda in dire straits at 18/5.
Farooqi then returned in the 13th over to snare three more wickets to register his career-best figures in T20 Internationals.
He first deceived Riazat Ali Shah with a slower delivery to bowl him out before forcing skipper Brian Masaba to nick the ball with an eager Gurbaz collecting it.
He missed out on a hat-trick again but claimed is fifth victim in the last ball of the over.“I kept it simple and wanted to hit the wickets. Playing franchise cricket helps you improve and helps on the big stage as well.
“Playing with so many big players, it helps in dealing with pressure and in bowling in the right areas,” said Farooqi, who has played for SRH in previous editions of IPL.
Earlier, with the ball coming onto the bat nicely and a fast outfield, Afghanistan’s openers started strong.
Gurbaz assumed the role of the aggressor first as he smacked the second ball of the innings for a six. Zadran quickly followed suit, hitting four consecutive boundaries in the sixth over off Dinesh Nakrani.
By the end of the first powerplay, Afghanistan were scoring at an impressive rate of 11 runs per over.
Gurbaz, who four boundaries and as many sixes, raced to his fifty off just 28 balls in the ninth over.
While Zadran, who sent the the ball to the fence nine times and over it once, reached his half century in the 12th over.Uganda’s poor fielding only added to their woes. (PTI)

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