Posted 8 months ago

Cricket ICC Men's World Cup 2023

Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi "disappointed" with his team's fielding performance against NZ.

Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi "disappointed" with his team's fielding performance against NZ.
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Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi was "disappointed" with Afghanistan's fielding performance following their humiliating 149-run defeat at the hands of New Zealand in a World Cup game here on Wednesday (18th October).

Dropping as many as five catches at crucial junctures and failing to read the nature of the track became their undoing, Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi said.

The Afghans got a taste of their own medicine when left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner spun a web around them to claim three wickets and moved to the top of the bowling charts with 11 wickets. The victory took the Black Caps’ tally to eight points and to the top of the table.

Afghanistan came into the match after having beaten defending champions England convincingly and were expected to give New Zealand a tight competition. But that was not to be in conditions that were in their favour, more than on the placid pitch in New Delhi on Sunday.

Batting first, New Zealand scored 288/6 in 50 overs and Glenn Phillips (71) and Tom Latham (68) got reprieves at opportune moments to conjure a match-winning 144-run stand. In reply, Afghanistan were bowled out for 139 in 34.4 overs.

“Very disappointed because at this level you have to take those kind of catches. End of the day those catches hurt us as otherwise the team was doing well but the fielding let us a little bit down,” Shahidi was straight-forward in his assessment.

Afghanistan conceded 78 runs in the last six overs and it was the turning point on a track that offered a lot of turn.

Big games are all about handling the pressure, making the right decisions and tightening the screws at the right time to throttle the opponents by not giving them the space to sneak through their fingers.

Dropped catches

Latham was dropped twice, first when he was on 35 and then on 38, both off the bowling of Rashid Khan, which proved costly. 

As many as five catches, starting from when Will Young, the opener who replaced injured Kane Williamson in the starting line-up, was put down when he was on one. The dropped catches allowed New Zealand to put up crucial partnerships to take the score to 288 for six in 50 overs.

“I would say it is not just pressure. It is happening way too frequently,” head coach Jonathan Trott said. “We really need to improve on our fielding. We really work hard on it during training, but we need to do it in games now.”

"If you look at the statistics, unfortunately, the side is right at the bottom with regards to catching," said Trott.

"So that needs to improve and we have worked hard on it."

They now have just one win from four matches in a major blow to their hopes of making the semi-finals.

Trott, a former England batsman who took over as Afghanistan coach in July last year, admitted his team allowed New Zealand to escape.

"Well, we dropped (Rachin) Ravindra on nought, we dropped Young on nought. So that sort of gives a little bit of momentum to the opposition."

"We would have been in an even better position had we held on to those catches but it wasn't to be and unfortunately, we have to go home regretting those tonight."

Trott also admitted his team batted poorly.

"Well, I certainly didn't feel it was a 130-odd all-out pitch," said Trott, whose team lost dangerman Rahmanullah Gurbaz for just 11 in the sixth over.

"The seamers actually did all the damage," said Trott.

"We were 28 for 2 at the end of the first power play, which when you're chasing 280 is probably going to put a lot of pressure on the players down the order."

Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi assured that we will look to bounce back and come back stronger for their next clash against Pakistan on Monday.

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