Afghanistan skipper: Significant achievement

Speaking to the media after his team made it to the Super 10s here on Saturday, Asghar said his team was determined to set things right after having failed to qualify for the knock-out phase in the recent Asia Cup.

Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai celebrate after the victory.   -  PTI

A visibly elated Afghanistan captain >Asghar Stanikzai termed his team’s victory over Zimbabwe in the ‘showdown’ as an immensely satisfying and significant achievement.

Speaking to the media after his team made it to the Super 10s here on Saturday, Asghar said his team was determined to set things right after having failed to qualify for the knock-out phase in the recent Asia Cup.

“Qualifying for the Super 10s showed our ability to come good in big matches. It is a big achievement to beat a Test nation like Zimbabwe. It has never been easy. In the qualifying rounds, every game means pressure, as you have to keep winning to stay in the race,” Asghar said.

Read: >Afghanistan qualifies for Super 10

On opener Mohammad Shahzad’s flamboyance, the Afghan captain said the team gave him the freedom to play his natural game. “His job is to just attack the main bowlers. We are glad that he once again gave a very good start but the middle-order failed today,” he pointed out.

“Definitely, we were not worried at 63 for four for we knew that Samiullah Shenwari and Mohammad Nabi were capable with the bat too,” Asghar said.

On spin bowlers being successful so far in this edition of the World T20, Asghar said they were enjoying the conditions, more suitable for their style of bowling. “I do hope that they would continue to do well in the main draw,” he felt.

For his part, Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza said he was disappointed with the result today. “They outplayed us today. Yes, it is apparent that we did not play to our full potential. Today’s show has been worse than in the first two games,” he remarked.

“I don’t think there was a mental block as such facing the Afghans (having lost all four previous games before today’s match). We tend to take one game at a time,” the Zimbabwe captain said.

“Yes, there was a plan to curb Mohammad Shahzad who is very difficult to bowl to at the top, by trying to bowl in the straight areas. But it did not work today. We gave him too much of whip,” he said.

On the Samiullah-Nabi partnership which pulled the Afghans out of trouble, Masakadza felt that his team created some chances but failed to capitalise on them.

“I do believe that Afghans can pull off a couple of wins on their day, in the main draw. They are capable of that in conditions familiar to them,” said Masakadza.