Taliban congratulate Afghan cricket team on defeating Scotland

Taliban congratulate Afghan cricket team on defeating Scotland

Photo collage of Afghan cricket players (L) and Taliban Spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid (R). — AFP.
  • “We wish the team more success in the future,” Taliban Spokesperson, Zabiullah Mujahid, says.
  • Afghan cricket team defeat Scotland by 130 runs in the Super 12 stage of the ongoing T20 World Cup.
  • Earlier, Taliban had assured there would be “no political interference” in cricket and other sports.

KABUL: The Taliban have congratulated the Afghan cricket team after they defeated Scotland by 130 runs in the Super 12 stage of the ongoing T20 World Cup.

Taking to Twitter, Taliban Spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid felicitated the team and wished them good luck for the rest of the tournament.

“Congratulations to all Afghans on the victory of the Afghan team in the ongoing World Twenty20, Mujahid wrote on Twitter. “Wish them more success in the future.”

It should be recalled that after the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan in August, the cricket team briefly faced the possibility of being banned from the tournament if the women’s game was discontinued.

However, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) Chairman Azizullah Fazli later clarified that the Taliban-led government has not “officially” banned women’s sport, especially cricket, as he turned down speculation’s about the newly formed setup having problems with female participation in sports.

Regarding the preparations of the Afghanistan men’s cricket team for the T20 World Cup,  Fazli had said the team had been training for the last two months, even after the group took over Kabul. “They said they support cricket and are fully behind the development of the game.”

Fazli had said the Taliban had assured him there would be “no political interference” in cricket and other sports.

The match

Spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman took five wickets in Afghanistan’s record 130-run rout of Scotland in their opening Super 12s match of the Twenty20 World Cup on Monday.

Chasing a daunting 191 for victory, Scotland were bowled out for 60 in 10.2 overs with five batters dismissed for ducks in Sharjah.

Mujeeb returned his best T20 figures of 5-20 and fellow spinner Rashid Khan claimed four wickets to hand Afghanistan their biggest victory margin in the game’s shortest format.

Najibullah Zadran set up the win with his 34-ball 59 to guide Afghanistan to their best total of 190-4 in the tournament after they elected to bat first.

Mujeeb remained the hero with his three wickets in one over, including two in successive deliveries, to decimate Scotland’s top and middle order.

Scotland, who made the Super 12s of this event for the first time after they won all three matches in the qualifiers, could never recover after Calum MacLeod, Richie Berrington and Matthew Cross fell without scoring, and the team crashed to their lowest T20 total.

Earlier, Najibullah and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (46) put together an attacking 87-run partnership for the third wicket, tearing into the Scotland bowling with seven sixes between them.

Najibullah fell on the final ball of the innings while attempting his fourth six in a 34-ball blitz that took Afghanistan past their previous tournament-high of 186 in 2016.

Hazratullah Zazai put on a quickfire opening stand of 54 with Mohammad Shahzad, who made 22.

Zazai smashed 44 off 30 balls but Mark Watt denied the batsman a fifty after bowling him with a toe-crushing yorker.

Safyaan Sharif took two wickets in an innings that witnessed 11 sixes in total.

The win puts Afghanistan at the top of the Group 2 table above Pakistan, who thrashed rivals India by 10 wickets on Sunday.

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