Afghanistan wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad lifting the Test trophy after his side’s victory over Ireland in the one-off match on Monday reminded everyone present at the post-match presentation of the famous scene from the film, Baahubali: The Beginning.
Chants of Baahubali were heard when Shahzad lifted the trophy and placed it on top of his head just like Prabhas had done with the Shivalinga in the blockbuster film.
Afghanistan defeated Ireland by 7 wickets in Dehradun to register their maiden Test victory. It was only their second Test match after they made their debut in the longest format last year against India.
Chasing 147 for the victory, Afghanistan rode a 139-run stand between Rahmat Shah and Ihsanullah Janat to romp home for a memorable win.
After falling two short of becoming Afghanistan’s first-ever Test centurion in their first innings, Shah grinded out an impressive 76, while Janat remained not out on 65.
“Happy. It’s a historic day for Afghanistan, for our team and our people, We have been playing for a while, we have been playing first-class cricket, so we have that composure,” captain Asghar Afghan said.
“The bowlers were very good, Rashid [Khan], Yamin [Ahmadzai]. Now, we are going to South Africa for World Cup preparation. We will try our best to play good cricket.”
Afghanistan’s memorable win was set up by superstar leg-spinner Rashid Khan and top-order batsman Rahmat Shah. While Rashid picked up a five-wicket haul in the second innings, Shah scored 98 and 76 as Afghanistan came up with an all-round effort in Dehradun.
Rahmat had struggled to get going in the recently-concluded five-match ODI series but the 25-year-old showcased his class with two crucial knocks for Afghanistan in the Test match.
“First of all I’d like to congratulate the country for this win. There was a difference in the pitches – the ODI wickets was suitable for spin, this was better for batting. We played session by session and tried to win the match that way. I would like to give credit to the bowlers, they played really well,” man-of-the-match Rahmat Shah said after the win.
Ireland were on the backfoot from the opening day when they were they were bowled out for 172 at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium. Afghanistan responded with a total of 314 all out to secure a healthy first innings lead.
In-form Andrew Balbirnie top-scored with 82 in a much-improved second-innings batting display from Ireland but leg-spinner Rashid Khan’s maiden five-wicket haul restricted them to 288 all out.
Both Ireland and Afghanistan were playing their second-ever test since being awarded a full member status in 2017.
The Irish side’s home debut ended in a defeat by Pakistan in a hard-fought contest last May, while Afghanistan succumbed inside two days against top-ranked India a month later in Bengaluru.