The chief architect of Afghanistan’s historic World Cup win over Pakistan, Ibrahim Zadran dedicated his Player of the Match award (POTM) to the Afghan refugees who were sent back to Afghanistan from Pakistan during the post-match presentation ceremony in Chennai.
Ibrahim was the top-scorer in the game with a gritty 87 off 113 balls that helped the Afghans to chase down 282 posted by the Babar Azam-led side at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Monday, October 23. His innings was studded with ten fours and came at a strike rate of 76.99.
He was adjudged the Player of the Match for his scintillating batting display and the 21-year-old was involved in a crucial 130-run opening stand with compatriot Rahmanullah Gurbaz.
“I want to dedicate this Man of the Match to the people who were sent from Pakistan to back home in Afghanistan,” said Ibrahim during the presentation ceremony.
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“Thankful that I performed well in this event. I wanted to play with a positive intent. Many times Gurbaz and I have done a brilliant partnership together. We have played a lot of cricket together, right from the Under-16 days. I am feeling very glad for myself and for my country,” he added.
Ibrahim’s comment has come after Pakistan recently ordered all the asylum seekers from Afghanistan residing in Pakistan to leave the country by November. The decision can affect the lives of about 1.7 million Afghans who are currently residing in Pakistan and can lead to a major refugee crisis.
Notably, this is Afghanistan’s first-ever win over Pakistan in ODIs. The two teams had faced each other in ODIs on seven occasions prior to the contest in Chennai with the 1992 world champions emerging victorious every single time.
“Big moment for the whole of Afghanistan. We have played eight games against Pakistan and won in a big event. It’s a lovely moment today. We beat England as well, and now Pakistan. The team is confident now. (Earlier) in the last moments, we used to lose the game (to Pakistan),” said an elated Mohammad Nabi while speaking to the broadcasters after the contest.
“We thought it was the same wicket like against New Zealand, but it was totally changed. Noor bowled brilliantly, in the good areas. A lot of close games, and this is a fantastic feeling. We shouldn’t have lost against Bangladesh. But now half the tournament is gone. We gave a lap of honour at the ground, and hopefully in Pune also they will support us,” he concluded.