Former Indian cricketer Ajay Jadeja, who is currently the mentor of the Afghanistan cricket team, celebrated their historic victory over Pakistan in the ICC World Cup on Monday. The Afghans achieved their first-ever ODI win against Pakistan by successfully chasing a target of 283 runs at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
As the winning runs were scored, the Afghanistan team’s dugout erupted with joy. Ajay Jadeja, dressed in Afghanistan’s jersey, was seen exchanging hugs and smiles with the players. His contribution to Afghanistan’s success in the World Cup was acknowledged by former Indian captain Sachin Tendulkar and former Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik. Both Tendulkar and Malik credited Jadeja as one of the key figures behind Afghanistan’s impressive performances in the tournament. Prior to their victory against Pakistan, Afghanistan had also stunned the defending champions, England.
Tendulkar expressed his admiration for Afghanistan’s performance, stating, “Afghanistan’s performance at this World Cup has been outstanding… It could possibly be due to a certain Mr. Ajay Jadeja’s influence,” in a post on the microblogging website ‘X’ (formerly Twitter).
Similarly, Malik praised Jadeja’s cricketing acumen and his role in helping Afghanistan play an attacking style of cricket. “I have seen Ajay Jadeja sitting in their dugout. I have worked with him during the 2015 World Cup for one of the channels in India. Great cricketing mind. Absolutely!” said Malik during an interview on the news channel ‘A Sports’. Malik emphasized the importance of having the right people around the team.
Ajay Jadeja is known for his contributions to the historic India-Pakistan cricket rivalries. His memorable knock of 45 runs off 25 balls, which included taking on Waqar Younis, in the 1996 World Cup quarterfinal at Bengaluru is still revered as one of the iconic moments from the cricketing rivalry between the two nations.
In Monday’s match, Afghanistan’s victory was led by the impressive bowling performance of teenage spinner Noor Ahmad, who took three wickets for 49 runs. The top three batsmen of Afghanistan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (65), Ibrahim Zadran (87), and Rahmat Shah (77), played crucial roles in the successful run-chase. Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi also made an unbeaten 47 runs, forming a vital partnership of 96 runs with Shah.
This defeat marks Pakistan’s third consecutive loss after winning their first two matches in the tournament. With two wins in five matches, Afghanistan climbed to the sixth position on the points table, while Pakistan remained at the fifth position based on net run rate.