Afghanistan batter Hashmatullah Shahidi insisted that his team’s main focus is on reaching the semi-finals of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Shahidi could not confirm if spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman is fit for their final match in Group 2 against New Zealand on Sunday. Afghanistan need to win big against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi and hope that Namibia pull off an upset against India on Monday to reach the semi-finals.
“About the team campaign, we only focus on ourselves, our team. Our main focus is on how we qualify for the semi-finals. So we will go with that. And our focus is only on us. So we’ll do our best to qualify for the semi-finals,” said Shahidi on being asked about India’s supporters cheering for Afghanistan in the pre-match press conference on Saturday.
Asked about Rahman’s availability for the match on Sunday after missing matches against Namibia and India, Shahidi couldn’t give concrete details on the same. “About Mujeeb, I’m not sure because this is the responsibility of team physio. And they’re in touch with him.”
Shahidi expressed confidence in Afghanistan’s spinners doing well in the conditions at Abu Dhabi but added that the batters need to step up in big matches. “Our spinners are really good, especially in these conditions. We have played a lot of cricket here and we have the benefits. But against the big teams, we should play with good batting. Also, the batsmen should take responsibility to play well against them.”
The 27-year-old signed off by saying that he was yet to see the pitch for Sunday’s match. “About tomorrow’s pitch, I can’t say anything because I don’t know about the pitch. I didn’t see it. We’ll see before the game tomorrow on how the pitch will be.”