Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Tried to attack where India struggled: Rashid on Afghanistan's toss decision. "India are a professional side, and they didn't let us get into the game," Rashid Khan
"India are a professional side, and they didn't let us get into the game," Rashid Khan
Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan conceded that the decision to bowl first against India had been a concerted ploy to expose the opposition's recent bat-first vulnerabilities.
Mohammad Nabi bucked the trend at the toss – Afghanistan last opted to chase nine T20Is ago, in 2019 – and asked India to take first strike. While the captain himself cited dew as the reason for veering away from the team's T20 doctrine, Rashid conceded that India's failings in the games against Pakistan and New Zealand in this World Cup had been a major factor.
“I think that was kind of the mindset of the players, that already the Indian team, they struggled in the first two games in the batting department, so we as a team just tried to attack in that department which they struggled, and [we thought] if we have success we can be on a winning side,” Rashid told after the 66-run defeat at Abu Dhabi.
“But they are a professional side, and they didn't let us get into the game. They started pretty well and they finished up really well. Once they got the control, it was pretty hard to get them less than 200. But as a team we tried our best.”
Where Afghanistan may have been hoping to chase closer to 170 on a significantly better surface, they were instead asked to chase 211 for victory, a target too steep once the openers departed cheaply. Rashid revealed that the team did recalibrate their chase with an eye on the Net Run Rate, choosing to reduce the margin of defeat with a more sedate approach in what could turn out to be a three-prong race to the semifinals, alongside New Zealand and India.
“Definitely, that's the kind of thing we had in mind after losing a few wickets,” Rashid said. “As a team we planned to go there and score as many runs as possible just to focus more on the run rate, and that might play a main role in the last game when we're playing against New Zealand. That could be a big difference at the end.
“The message was clear, just go play smart cricket and play 20 overs and get as many as possible, so that was the kind of mindset of the players.”
‘No clarity on Mujeeb fitness'
Rashid also revealed that the team had no clarity on the fitness status of star spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who was a notable absentee in the game against India. Mujeeb has now missed the team's last two games after a sparkling five-fer against Scotland. Afghanistan face New Zealand at the same venue on Sunday, in what is likely to be a must-win game for their chances of making the semifinal and Mujeeb's participation remains up in the air.
“We don't have any clarity about him [Mujeeb], how he is, but we hope that he is fit enough for the next game,” Rashid said. “As a player you don't know what's going to happen in the next couple of days. He had a full rest since he got injured. He bowled a couple of balls, but I can't say anything at the moment. Could be very bad, could be very good, as well. Let's see what's going to happen in the next couple of days and then we're going to decide.
“The morale [in the team] is high,” Rashid said. “As long as we keep the process simple, we know which process we come up with against any side, so we will just try our best as a team to keep the same process against New Zealand in the next game and play with a fresh mind. That could be a quarterfinal for us, as well.
“If we win, we know we have a good run rate so we could be the team to be in the semifinals. So we'll just go out there, enjoy our skills, and enjoy our cricket. As long as you are enjoying it, I think there are more chances (that) you could perform.”