Southampton: Afghanistan could have created history by beating the star studded Indians. Their skipper Gulbadin Naib turned emotional while explaining the narrow miss of creating one of the biggest upsets in the game since they lost by just 11 runs. He candidly admitted he badly wanted to win over the great Indian players who he adores as cricketers.
Lamenting at the miss, he said ‘At one stage I thought we could win easily, but in the end it was a narrow miss... and I am very emotional about that miss. We are all upset because we missed a great opportunity to beat this kind of a team. That would be a big achievement for any team in the World Cup. The big teams don’t give a single chance. India is one of the best sides, my favourite team, and I support the Indian team. It has my favourite cricketer Virat Kohli and I feel happy I played against him.’
Naib was also thrilled that he played with Mahendra Singh Dhoni. “Dhoni is a very experienced player, such a great player, and he's a legend in the Indian team. So we had planned it for Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav. The ball was turning, it was really difficult for anyone. But the two of them had a good partnership in the middle and credit goes to them . So I think India took the game away from there. At one point we thought they would score only 170 or 180 runs. But sadly we could not make it.”
The Afghan skipper lauded Mohammad Nabi’s fighting knock, but at the same hailed Jasprit Bumrah too. “Nabi played really well according to the plan, but credit goes to Bumrah's spell. He bowled really well. Also, Shami, his last over was terrific.”
Naib feels that his team’s show reveals how They have improved by the day. “I think we're now getting better and better. This is what I want from the team. The batting is also improving, and that is a good sign. But all credit goes to the Indian side in terms of how they bowled, and how they fielded. We too did many good things, but in the end we were just short.”
Does he think his batsmen choked during the chase? “When we chase totals like these- 220 or 250, one or two batsmen should get a 50 or 80. Scoring 30 or 20 runs is not enough. But the Indians bowled really well. When you play teams like these, you learn a lot, and we are taking a lot of positives from this game. We learn from our mistakes. Surely the Indian score was chaseable, but I think we didn't take the full responsibility, especially on the batting side.”