In a thrilling match held at the Gaddafi Stadium, Sri Lanka secured a ‘Super 4’ spot thanks to Kasun Rajitha’s four-wicket haul and Dhananjaya de Silva’s crucial two wickets in the 38th over.
Afghanistan had a clear task at hand – they needed to chase down 292 runs in 37.1 overs to advance to the Super Four stage. As the 37th over concluded, Afghanistan found themselves at 289/8 and still in contention. However, their hopes appeared dashed when Mujeeb ur Rahman was caught at long-on, and the non-striker, Rashid Khan, dropped to his knees, believing they had missed their opportunity.Yet, they remained alive in the competition. To secure qualification, they needed to reach certain run targets after specific overs – 293 after 37.2 overs, 294 after 37.3, 295 after 37.5, 296 after 38 overs or 297 after 38.1 overs. All it would have taken was a substantial hit from the next batter, Fazalhaq Farooqi, or ensuring Rashid had the strike to clinch victory.
However, instead of going for it, Fazalhaq chose to block the next two balls, and eventually fell leg-before-wicket while attempting to defend.
Afghanistan folded for 289 in 37.4 overs, losing the match by just two runs.
The lack of awareness about the net-run-rate equation proved to be their downfall, despite having Rashid, a powerful striker, at the crease.
Afghanistan exited the tournament, losing both their group-stage games.
After the match, Trott expressed his disappointment, citing the team’s lack of information regarding the net-run-rate requirements as a contributing factor to their unfortunate defeat.
“We were never communicated those calculations. All we were communicated was we needed to win in 37.1 overs. We were not told what the overs in which we could get 295 or 297; that we could win in 38.1 overs was never communicated to us,” said Trott as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
While teams rely on match officials to get information on NRR to some extent, a lot of it is brought to the team by their own set of analysts.
Trott felt his bowlers could have done better in the tournament.
“I do not think there is one reason we lost the game. There are areas of the game we could have done better (in) and that goes for today’s game and the one against Bangladesh. We got some things horribly wrong in a few areas and it has cost us. It would be nice if we had bowled them out a bit cheaper. But it was not to be,” concluded Trott.
‘We fought well, gave our 100%’
Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi, who played a valiant knock of 59, expressed a mix of emotions enormous, while hoping to take the Asia Cup learning to the World Cup.
“Very disappointed about it (the loss and elimination). We fought well, we gave our 100 per cent. Proud of the team for the way we played, the way we batted. I think in the last couple of years we played good cricket in the ODI format also,” Shahidi said during the post-match presentation.
“We are still learning a lot. We had a lot of positives in this tournament. We are very near to the World Cup. What we did wrong here we will learn (from that) and be better (prepared) for the World Cup. Our crowd is always supporting us. We are thankful to them. We tried our best to give something back to them today, we feel sorry for them,” the skipper said.
(With agency inputs)