Star Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan on Sunday hoped their stunning 69-run win over England in the World Cup will put a smile on the faces of his countrymen and heal their pain following a series of devastating earthquakes. Afghanistan on Sunday created one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history, shocking defending champions England in New Delhi. (Scorecard | Highlights | Full Coverage)
"This is a big win for us. This kind of performance gives us the belief that we can beat any side on any day. It will give us the energy for the rest of the World Cup," Rashid Khan told the broadcasters after Afghanistan bowled England out for 215 after posting 284 all out.
"Cricket is something that brings joy to the people back home. Winning the game against England is big for us. Recently, we had an earthquake back home. Over 3,000 people lost their lives, many houses were destroyed, so this win will put a little bit of smile on their faces and maybe, they can little bit forget those days."
Afghanistan has been affected by strong earthquakes and aftershocks, which killed thousands of people and flattened many villages. In fact, on Sunday, a powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck western Afghanistan.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who was adjudged the Player of the Match for his all-round show, also dedicated his award to his countrymen back home.
"I want to dedicate this award to the people back home, who have been affected by the earthquake. This is something we could do as a team and I could do myself as a player," he said after returning bowling figures of 3 for 51 and scoring a 16-ball 28.
"It is a very proud moment to be here at the World Cup and beating the champions. Great achievement for the whole team and this is the kind of opportunity we have been working hard for. It was a wonderful performances by the bowlers and the batters."
Rashid, who snapped three for 37, said they had set up small goals and just wanted to give their heart and soul in their performance without thinking about the result.
"I made it clear to everyone in the dressing room. Whatever happens in the tournament, we just have to fight till the end. We made small goals for ourselves. You just have to be happy that you gave your 100% while going back to the hotel."
Talking about Mujeeb, Rashid said, "Mujeeb has been contributing consistently for us. We have been bowling together in the nets. We have been batting together in the nets.
"We discuss what's the best ball to bowl on the wicket. Sharing information helps us. I'm lucky to have him around. Also, we have Nabi and great to have him who has plenty of experience.
"It's a special occasion for Nabi. 150th game for him. Also, 100th game for Rahmat Shah. We said that we would celebrate after the win. This will be a memorable win for him.
"We lost to England in the 2016 T20 World Cup here. We had a discussion about it. We restricted them to 140 but had a collapse. We learnt from the mistakes and really happy to win tonight," he added.
Mujeeb had started the proceedings in their defence of 284 as he shared the new ball with Fazalhaq Farooqi.
"As a spinner, it is pretty hard to bowl in the powerplay. But I have been working in the nets. There is not much room for error to bowl wide so I have tried to bowl wicket-to-wicket," he said.
"We knew that dew will play some part and that is why I wanted to bowl in the powerplay. The ball was holding a little bit as well. Even if there was dew, I was mentally prepared. Not to give much room and bowl in the right areas."
Asked about his batting, Mujeeb, who slammed three fours and a six during his cameo, said, "It is all about the management. They have been giving me confidence. I want to contribute as a lower-order batter as well, and those 25-30 runs help the team as well. I want to continue doing that."
England skipper Jos Buttler said it will take a lot of effort from his team to overcome the setback.
"Disappointed with the result. The team will need to show a lot of resilience to get over this and make a successful comeback," said Buttler.
"Disappointing to win the toss and concede that many, me missing that first ball down the leg side set the tone. Credit to Afghanistan, they outplayed us today."
He conceded that the defending champions erred in executing their strategy.
"It came down to execution, we weren't quite at the level we'd like to be with both bat and ball. You got to let these defeats hurt, there's no point in getting over things too quickly, we need to reflect.
"There’s a lot of character in this group, we need to show a lot of resilience and come back stronger," added Buttler.