Afghanistan Lost 181 for 3 (Shahidi 56*, Rahmat 52, Van Beek 1-30) The Netherlands 179 (Englebrecht 58, Nabi 3-28) for seven wickets
The Netherlands were undone by four runs out, a stumping and a spin chokehold in Lucknow, as Afghanistan improved their outside chances of reaching the semi-finals with a fourth win in seven games, this time also increasing their net run rate. .
Chasing 180, their 111-ball victory was quickly folded courtesy of 52 overs. Rahmat Shah and from 56 Hashmatullah ShahidiBut the meat of the action happened in the first half where Afghanistan bowled well in parts, but were helped by regular errors from the Netherlands.
The Netherlands started the day with their best batting start at the World Cup, reaching 72 for 1 in 11 overs, mostly on the back of Max O’Dowd’s early onslaught. But O’Dowd’s search for a second run in the 12th over saw him run out after Azmatullah Omarzai hit it straight to fine leg.
The run-out then continued inexplicably as the well-set Colin Ackerman (29) was slow to react to a single call. Cybrand Engelbrecht. On the next ball, Scott Edwards did not know where the ball had gone after mistaking a reverse sweep, and when he did, wicketkeeper Ikram Alikhil smashed his stumps. A brief squeeze followed by Mohammad Nabi, Noor Ahmed and Rashid Khan, after which Engelbrecht – the man who held the innings together – was also run out when Roelf van der Merwe called him for a single that wasn’t there.
Those four dismissals likewise rattled the Netherlands and gave Afghanistan an opening they could never relinquish. Their spinners held control of the middle overs as the Dutch slipped from 72 for 1 to 97 for 5. This allowed Afghanistan to recover from a difficult start with the ball, where they were bowled out at 6.6 per over in the powerplay despite the first over wicket of Wesley Baresi. Fazlhaq Farooqui, one of only two seamers in their playing XI for the game, hit eight boundaries in the powerplay, a tournament record for the 2023 edition.
Wicketkeeper Alikhil had a brilliant outing behind the stumps, contributing three of the four run-outs, taking two solid catches off the spin bowling and stumping Logan van Beek. He held on to catches by Bas de Lied and Saqib Zulfiqar and was quick with his glovework when Van Beek took Nabi to task. Nabi, with 3 for 28, picked the bowlers on a day where Afghanistan dropped Naveen-ul-Haq and added Noor to play with four spinners.
Afghanistan’s chase of 180 started to stutter when Rahmanullah Gurbaz was dismissed in the fifth over and Ibrahim Zadran departed in the 11th over. But they were not under run-rate pressure with the initial burst of boundaries from no. 3 Mercy. Rahmat was busy in front of the square on the off side, and a 77-ball 74 with Shahidi kept Afghanistan well ahead in the chase. The Netherlands’ seamers could not make inroads after the brilliant knocks, and the batsmen were cautious against the spin of Aryan Dutt and Zulfiqar.
Rahmat reached his third consecutive fifty in World Cups and 26th in all ODIs, but was caught and bowled by the wrong-footed wrist-spinner Zulfikar. However, the Dutch celebration was short-lived when Omarzai counterattacked upon entry and captured the Shahidi fort. Along the way, Shahidi hit his 19th ODI fifty and the win was complete with the pair remaining unbeaten on 52 runs in the 32nd over. Remarkably, no sixes were hit in the game.
For the Netherlands, a place in the 2025 Champions Trophy now looks increasingly difficult with games against England and India at stake with a top-eight finish. Afghanistan – now in fifth place – Australia and South Africa are coming in and are still in contention for a semi-final finish.