Afghanistan beat Netherlands to boost World Cup semi-final hopes


Afghanistan kept their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup semi-finals alive after beating the Netherlands by seven wickets in a low-scoring group match.

Afghanistan climbed to fifth place in the standings with eight points, behind New Zealand on net run rate. The top four teams move into the last four.

Afghanistan had won just one match in the previous two World Cups, but the Asian side now have four wins in the tournament in India after also beating defending champions England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Chasing 180 after the Netherlands won the toss and elected to bat first, Afghanistan were 55-2 but Rahmat Shah scored a blistering 52 off 54 balls to set the stage for a comfortable defeat.

Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi made an unbeaten 56 to guide Afghanistan home in the 32nd over, picking up the winning runs with his sixth boundary.

Earlier, Mujeeb Ur Rahman struck in the first over when he had opener Wesley Barresi caught lbw to claim his 100th ODI wicket and the other four Dutch batsmen were all run out after mix-ups.

Max O’Dowd (42) looked set for a big score with nine fours but was run out by some fine work from deep by Azmatullah Omarzai, who smashed the stumps with victory just as the opener’s dive was in vain.

Afghanistan keeper Ikram Alikhil – Captain Scott Edwards — leading scorer for the Dutch in the tournament — got out the first ball when he played a shot and got out of the crease without knowing where the ball was.

Sybrand Engelbrecht was the lone middle-order batsman to provide resistance for a patient 58 but the Dutch were all out for 179 in the 47th over, with Alikhil involved in six dismissals and Mohammad Nabi picked three wickets.

– Reuters

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