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World Cup 2023 Points Table: Pakistan got a heavy jolt in the Cricket World Cup as they slumped to their third straight loss in Chennai on Monday. Coming into the match against Afghanistan, Pakistan were reeling after defeats against the Indian cricket team and the Australian cricket team. Against Afghanistan, they needed a win to boost their chances but instead the Hashmatullah Shahidi-led side stunned the higher-ranked Pakistan team by eight wickets. Batting first, Afghanistan restricted Pakistan to 282/7 in 50 overs in the Cricket World Cup match. (World Cup Points Table)

Then, boosted by half-centuries from Rahmanullah Gurbaz (65), Ibrahim Zadran (87) and Rahmat Shah (77*), Afghanistan cruised towards the target. Shah and Afghanistan skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi (48*) stayed unbeaten to take their team to an eight wicket win.

With this win, Pakistan remained stagnant at the fifth spot with four points from five matches (NRR -0.400) while Afghanistan rose to the sixth spot (4 points, 5 matches, NRR -0.969). Pakistan’s remaining matches are against South Africa, Bangladesh, New Zealand and England. South Africa and New Zealand are in top form while England are the defending champions. Their road to semi-finals is now very tough.

Afghanistan, who had earlier stunned defending champions England, next face Sri Lanka, Netherlands, Australia and South Africa. With the giant-killing spree that Afghanistan are in, any team would be wary of them.

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Skipper Babar Azam struck a composed half-century before useful cameos by lower-order batters guided Pakistan to 282 for seven against Afghanistan in their World Cup match on Monday.

Opener Abdullah Shafique made 58 off 75 balls and Babar got 74 off 92 balls, but had it not been for the efforts of Iftikhar Ahmed and the returning Shadab Khan, Pakistan would have finished with far less than what they eventually achieved.

While Iftikhar smashed his way to a 27-ball 40, Shadab contributed a breezy 40 in 38 deliveries.

Expecting a slow pitch, the Afghans moved in with four spinners. However, the track turned out to be better than expected.

The Pakistani openers Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq (17) began on a cautious note and managed a 56-run stand.

While they brought up the side’s 50 by the eighth over, Shafique was targeting pacer Naveen-ul-Haq.

Also, spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman was expensive in the first 10 overs of the powerplay.

The first delivery of the second powerplay saw the Afghans earn the first breakthrough, with Imam falling to speedster Azmatullah Omarzai off a short ball.

Nevertheless, the Men in Green barely panicked as Shafique joined forces with skipper Babar and put up a 54-run partnership for the second wicket.

At this point, spinners Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Kahn operated in tandem to keep things under control, not allowing the two batters in the middle to free their arms.

In the meantime, Shafique brought up his third ODI half-century, while Babar looked to mix aggression with caution.

It was the 23rd over when Azmatullah Omarzai finally got rid of Shafique, while a couple of overs later, Mohammad Rizwan (8) fell prey to Noor Ahmad, reducing Pakistan to 120 for three.

Babar and Saud Shakeel (25) paired up briefly for a 43-run stand for the fourth wicket, even as the run rate dropped a bit to put pressure on the batters.

The result was that Shakeel was dismissed by Mohammad Nabi in the 34th over, before Babar and Shadab Khan (40) stitched a 43-run partnership for the fifth wicket.

During this phase, Babar also scored his 30th ODI 50 before offering a catch to Nabi off Noor with the score reading 206 for five in the 42nd over.

With PTI inputs

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