Afghanistan team bowed out without a single win in their second 50-overs World Cup appearance. The Gulbadin Naib-led side was able to create a creek in the opposition wall but were unable to break through the challenge. Against the Windies, in their last match, Afghanistan fell short of the target by 23 runs.
As a result, they ended up with a wooden spoon in the 2019 World Cup and the skipper was particularly critical about the performances of the senior players. It was a golden opportunity for the Asian team to establish their white-ball reputation at the grandest stage. As the tournament progressed indecision in team management coupled with off-field issues derailed their campaign. Though they gave the mainstream sides a run for their money in the latter half of the tournament it was not enough to convert that into victory.
Before the start of the World Cup, the Afghanistan team was termed the surprise package of this edition. It had a balance of youth and experience with the presence of stars like Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Hazratullah Zazai.
We made a lot of mistakes
All these players never raised the bar of their game which was clearly pointed out by their captain Gulbadin Naib. Particularly the leg-spinner, Rashid who was completely off colour and even conceded 109 runs in his 9-over spell against England, the worst figures recorded.
“I’m very disappointed with the performance of the team. In each and every game we made a lot of mistakes. We did not play our natural cricket. We have big names in our time like Nabi, Rashid, Mujeeb…everyone expected them to perform as they did in the last two, three years Rashid has contributed 60 percent in our wins. I also expected a lot from him. But it’s a game of cricket, he gave his 100 percent, but you can say he has had bad luck,” Naib said in the post-match press conference.
He also discussed the batting order changes the team made throughout the tournament which didn’t work most of the time. The all-rounder noted that fitness was a concern for the current crop of Afghan players as they didn’t back their bowlers by dropping catches in the field and missing crucial run-outs.
“I learned a lot in this tournament. I agree we did not give anyone a proper chance with a fixed place in the batting order. We could not give our 100 percent and fulfill the expectations of the people of Afghanistan. I say sorry to my fans and my country,” he concluded.