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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Afghanistan secures maiden super 8 berth in T20 WC, coach Trott cautious despite victories

I believe we're very, very talented and when we play our best cricket, we can take on anyone: Jonathan Trott

PTI Tarouba (Trinidad) Published 14.06.24, 05:23 PM
Afghanistan's wicket keeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz, second from left, celebrates with captain Rashid Khan the dismissal of Papua New Guinea's Lega Siaka during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago, Thursday, June 13, 2024.

Afghanistan's wicket keeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz, second from left, celebrates with captain Rashid Khan the dismissal of Papua New Guinea's Lega Siaka during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago, Thursday, June 13, 2024. AP/PTI

There is understandable elation among Afghanistan players after ensuring a maiden Super Eight berth in the T20 World Cup but head coach Jonathan Trott says the jubilation has not come in the way of their understanding of the reality that they "haven't won anything yet".

Afghanistan hammered Papua New Guinea by seven wickets on Thursday to record a third consecutive group stage victory that took them into the Super Eights. The result also knocked 2021 edition's finalists New Zealand out of the tournament.

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"We still have one game left, an important group game, and that's going to be a good gauge of where we are against a powerful West Indies side who won an incredible game last night (against New Zealand) from the position they were in," Englishman Trott said in the post-match press conference.

"So, it's nice to have won tonight and got qualification as such. To come to a World Cup and win three is a nice feeling, but also the realisation and reality that we haven't won anything yet.

"We only achieved the group stage and we've got some important cricket matches coming up which we're going to have to play well in." The war-torn South Asian nation has been in terrific form in the mega event, led by talismanic all-rounder Rashid Khan and propelled by some strong performances by the likes of pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi, who has 12 wickets in his kitty so far.

The batting form of openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran has also been a crucial aspect of the Afghans' success story. They will face India in their first Super Eight clash on June 20 in Barbados.

"I believe we're very, very talented and when we play our best cricket, we can take on anyone. We've seen that.

"I feel that we still haven't played our best game. There's still things we need to work on and we'll be working on those over the next few days to give ourselves the best chance to beat the major teams," Trott said.

The former England batter lavished praise on Farooqi and credited bowling coach Hamid Hassan for polishing him.

"He's been really good I think when he gets his line and with the pace and the swing, he's very dangerous. So, I still think with the amount of talent (he has), he can even bowl better," Trott said.

"And working with our bowling coach Hamid Hassan and, obviously, Dwayne Bravo for this tournament, we've seen him stand up and have some real match winning performances or man of the match performances.

"But a lot of other bowlers have bowled well as well. So, I was pleased with how everybody else supported him today. It's not just about one bowler. And that's exciting going forward for St. Lucia," he said.

The match against PNG was the first time Afghan openers Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran failed to click and Trott said he has full faith in them to come good in the next stage.

"...today is a good reminder of just how fickle cricket can be when you just relax a little bit or not as focused or doing the basics as much as the pitch or the conditions deserve," he said.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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