Mumbai, Nov 7 (SocialNews.XYZ) Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi on Tuesday admitted that two dropped chances by his fielders off Glenn Maxwell denied his team a memorable and sensational victory against five-time World Champions Australia in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 at the Wankhede Stadium here.
After scoring a challenging 291/5 off 50 overs thanks to a brilliant unbeaten 129 by Ibrahim Zadran, the first century for Afghanistan in the World Cup, and a breezy 18-ball 35 by Rashid Khan, Shahidi's team had pushed Australia to the brink of defeat, reducing them to 91/7 in the 19th over.
But Glenn Maxwell and Pat Cummins raised an amazing 202-run partnership for the 8th wicket partnership with Maxwell scoring a sensational 128-ball 201 not out and Cummins remaining unbeaten on 12 off 68.
Afghanistan had their chances with Australia seven-down when they put down two catches off Maxwell, Mujeeb ur Rahman dropping him at 27 and Nabi putting down a chance when the Australian batter was on 32. Maxwell also survived a close LBW appeal on review and saw many edges dropping in the gaps.
Shahidi said those two dropped catches hurt his team's chances of inching closer to a place in the semifinals.
"Very disappointed, cricket is a funny game. It was unbelievable for us. We were in the game, our bowlers started really well. The dropped chances hurt us at the end of the day, we missed those moments and after that Maxwell didn't stop, credit to him," said Shahidi at the post-match presentation on Tuesday.
He said Maxwell started playing well after the second dropped catch. "I think that catch was the key point. After that, he played really well, he had all the shots and didn't give us any chance. Our bowlers tried their best," said the Afghanistan captain.
Shahidi, who shared a 52-run partnership with Zadran, said he was proud of his team as his players tried their best. "Proud of the team; the team will be disappointed tonight but it's part of the game. We will try our best to come stronger in our next game against South Africa," he said.
The skipper praised Zadran, who also shared an 83-run partnership with Rahman Shah and raised 58 not out with Rashid Khan as Afghanistan scored 75 runs in the last six overs.
"Ibrahim Zadran must be proud of himself. I am also proud. He is the first Afghan player to score a hundred in the World Cup," said Shahidi.