Black Cap bashing: Rashid Khan dazzles as Afghanistan demolish NZ for 75 in T20 World Cup stunner


A spectacular 80 from opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz and four wickets from captain Rashid Khan have powered Afghanistan to a dominant 84-run victory over a sloppy New Zealand, to start their T20 World Cup on the sweetest possible note.

Having never previously downed the Black Caps in T20I cricket before, the underdogs capitalised on a series of dropped catches to reach 6/159 from their 20 overs, with Rahmanullah bludgeoning five sixes, including a 105 metre monster off Daryl Mitchell, and forming the bedrock of a 103-run opening stand.

In response, opener Finn Allen had his leg stump sent flying by a vicious inswinger from Fazalhaq Farooqi off the first ball of the innings, and New Zealand’s run chase never recovered.

Farooqi ripped the heart out of the Black Caps’ top order with a wicket in each of his first three overs to reduce the favourites to 3/28, before captain Rashid dominated the middle overs with figures of 4/17 to secure a crushing victory.

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Among the scalps were New Zealand champion Kane Williamson caught sharply at slip by veteran Gulbadin Naib for 9, while a well-disguised straightener that castled Mark Chapman was the most spectacular of the wizardly leg-spinner’s haul.

Reduced to 9/63, not even some lusty late blows from tailender Matt Henry could salvage any pride from the wreckage, the Black Caps bowled out for just 75 – their fourth-lowest ever T20I total, and their second-lowest at any T20 World Cup.

Rashid Khan appeals successfully for the wicket of Michael Bracewell. (Photo by Darrian Traynor-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

The horror result leaves New Zealand’s World Cup on life support; having reached the semi-finals at every ODI and T20 World Cup since 2014, a disastrous net run rate of -4.200 is an added hindrance which will likely require them to beat Uganda, Papua New Guinea and tournament hosts the West Indies to so much as make it out of their group and into the Super 8s.

Afghanistan, meanwhile, are all but certain to secure their first ever passage out of the group stage, likely needing to only win one of their final two group games against PNG and the Windies to top their group.

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