By: Monitoring Desk
Afghanistan lost out to defending champions Australia in their Bristol opener. Eight group-stage games remain with the next seeing them face Sri Lanka in Cardiff.
Najibullah Zadran vowed the best is yet to come from Afghanistan after he scored a fifty in their opening ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup defeat to defending champions Australia. The Afghanis found themselves in trouble early on after winning the toss and batting first, losing openers Mohammad Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai for ducks.
But a half-century from Najibullah (51), along with scores of 43 and 31 from Rahmat Shah and captain Gulbadin Naib, respectively, ensured Afghanistan fought back to set a target of 208.
And while David Warner (89 not out) and Aaron Finch (66) ultimately helped Australia to a comfortable seven-wicket win, Najibullah is confident that Afghanistan will learn from their shortcomings.
“We made a lot of mistakes because we made some wrong shot selections when we were batting, but hopefully we will improve this going forward,” said the 26-year-old.
“We will improve for the next game and come back stronger. We probably gave a way a few easy runs as the Australian batsmen run really fast.
“With the next matches we have coming we will waork on our fielding with our coach, especially in the circle, and try our best to do better in our next game.
“We are a good side and I think we can beat any side in the world. We will always try our best and I am confident we can cause some upsets in this tournament.”
Najibullah has been in impressive form for Afghanistan with the bat of late, with his performance against Australia following scores of 60 and 104 not out against Ireland earlier this year.
His powerful stroke play was the highlight of the innings as Afghanistan were forced to recover from 77/5 after Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins (3/40) tore through their openers.
The Afghans showed plenty of resistance, though, as they passed 200 with Najibullah assisted by excellent knocks from captain Gulbadin, Rahmat and Rashid Khan (27).
Afghanistan will now turn their attention to bouncing back in their next clash against Sri Lanka on Tuesday in Cardiff, where Najibullah intends to continue playing his natural game.
‘’I am really happy with how I performed as I got a fifty and I played really well, so I hope I can continue my form throughout the whole tournament,” he said.
“We were probably 40-50 runs short of what we wanted against Australia in the end as the wicket was good, but we lost early wickets which is why we were under pressure.
“Hopefully we can continue our form in the next matches. When I went into bat the coach told me to play my natural game and continue the way I’ve batted the last three or four months.
“I’ve been played really well in the ODI matches and that’s why I am very confident in my batting and I just went out there and played my natural game.”