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CWC 2019 – Afghanistan v Pakistan: 5 key talking points

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Last Updated on 5 years by Charbel Coorey

CWC 2019 – Afghanistan v Pakistan: 5 key talking points. AFG vs PAK: 5 key talking points from their 2019 World Cup match.

Afghanistan vs Pakistan was never going to be dull. Who said need to have 300 v 300 for an exciting game of ODI Cricket?!

Pakistan prevailed in a memorable low-scoring thriller that many of us thought this World Cup would be bereft of. It made for magnificent viewing. Indeed, Afghanistan’s decision making hurt them yet again, but Pakistan won’t care. They moved into the top four at the expense of England ahead of their huge game against India.

Here are five key talking points from Pakistan’s thrilling three-wicket win.

Download: Making cricket an interactive experience! Discover Harrison Cricket Apps ODI version. For full screenshots, click here.

1. What on earth was Gulbadin Naib thinking?

Also read: Rant – Afghanistan team management has stuffed their chances of success.

This is an opportunity to provide a friendly reminder that the wonderful Afghanistan team management sacked Asghar Afghan – who was widely respected in the playing group, and replaced him with Gulbadin Naib on the eve of a World Cup campaign. It was a decision that screamed team politics.

The proof? Asghar Afghan was left out of Afghanistan’s side for their first few matches.

Fast forward to the back-end of the tournament. Gulbadin Naib has looked out of his depth as captain, regularly employing tactics and decisions that has hurt his team’s chances. When you add the team management’s incompetency, it makes it very hard for Afghanistan to win games, of which they should have two or three by now.

Pakistan were struggling against spin. The asking rate continued to jump as wickets fell. They were choking in a crucial chase and needed help from somewhere. Gulbadin obliged. 46 off 30 balls with four wickets in hand is mighty tough against spin, but Gulbadin decided to bring himself on, which was a show of either selfishness or complete lack of understanding of the match situation. The crucial 46th over went for 18, turning the game in Pakistan’s favour, before Gulbadin brought himself on again for the final over that lasted just three balls as Imad thumped a friendly full toss away through the covers.

The fact that Samiullah Shenwari finished with two overs in the bank summarises just how Afghanistan’s thinking process has robbed them badly in this World Cup. This is another game that got away, after close matches against Sri Lanka and India.

Image: Getty Images. Afghanistan v Pakistan: 5 key talking points – Gulbadin has struggled.

2. Umpiring also hurts Afghanistan

The eventual match-winner Imad Wasim was plumb LBW in the 37th over off Rashid Khan. Afghanistan had no reviews left, and while you need to be careful of what to review, there is little doubt that these kinds of decisions (or non-decisions) make a huge difference.

The pressure of such a great finish to the World Cup group stages doesn’t only take a toll on the players. The umpires are under pressure, too, and have to be on top of their game in the big moments. In the end, though, Gulbadin only has himself to blame as Afghanistan were well in control with five overs to go.

Download: Making cricket an interactive experience! Discover Harrison Cricket Apps ODI version. For full screenshots, click here.

3. Imad Wasim produces a great all-round performance

While he rode his luck with the bat, no one can discount the fantastic effort of Imad Wasim in such a tight game.

Imad was under some pressure to keep his spot after an underwhelming display against New Zealand. Here, though, he showed the value he can offer with bat and ball, taking two crucial wickets and play a gem of a knock (along with Wahab Riaz) that will be remembered widely across Pakistan, especially if they happen to reach the Semi Finals.

Image: World Cup Twitter. Afghanistan v Pakistan: 5 key talking points – Imad Wasim had a great game.

4. Shaheen Shah Afridi backs up one great effort with another

The talk ahead of Pakistan’s game against New Zealand was the form of Shaheen Shah Afridi. His form in his preceding five ODIs was a complete contrast to the first 10 of his career.

He has now taken seven wickets in his past two games. His four wickets here helped settle plenty of Pakistani nerves, both early and late in the innings. His slower ball was used to great effect, mixing his pace up well to keep the Afghans on their toes. With Shaheen in this form, Pakistan can hope for one big performance in the group stage that might have them sneak into the Semi Finals.

Image: Getty Images. Afghanistan v Pakistan: 5 key talking points – Another fine day for Shaheen after a big day vs NZ.

5. Pakistan still in with a shout

An England loss against India puts Pakistan’s fate in their own hands.

However, given the inconsistency Pakistan are renowned for, is fate really ever in their own hands? They play Bangladesh, also in with a Semi Final shout, after overcoming an excellent Afghanistan spin attack. Led by the brilliant Mujeeb ur Rahman, Afghanistan kept the pressure right on, which saw some suicidal strokeplay and running from Pakistan’s batsmen.

In the end though, a mixture of brilliance from Imad and incompetence from Gulbadin got Pakistan home.

Download: Making cricket an interactive experience! Discover Harrison Cricket Apps ODI version. For full screenshots, click here.

Thanks for reading!

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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