Afghanistan’s impressive pace bowling trio were given a second lesson in the step up required to face a test-playing nation when New Zealand beat them by six wickets in their World Cup Pool A clash on Sunday.
Dawlat Zadran, left-armer Shapoor Zadran and Hamid Hassan have all impressed with their World Cup performances and are undoubtedly the pick of the Associate nations’ pace bowlers.
Shapoor, whose long approach to the wicket bears an uncanny resemblance to Pakistan’s former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, has taken 10 wickets, while Hassan has taken seven and Dawlat six.
In their last match against Australia in Perth, however, they were brought back to earth when they were flayed all around the WACA and conceded 260 runs in their 30 overs as Michael Clarke’s side ran up 417 for six.
On Sunday, they were hammered around McLean Park by Brendon McCullum, conceding 41 runs in the opening five overs before the New Zealand captain was bowled by off-spinner Mohammad Nabi.
After an initial period of consolidating following the dismissal of McCullum, Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill got back into their work, taking 25 runs from the 10th to the 12th overs before Nabi came back into the attack.
While they generated some good pace in excess of 140kmph and got some bounce, they were unable to consistently put the ball in testing areas for New Zealand’s batsmen.
It was something that coach Andy Moles had said prior to the game that he was working on as they looked to improve their world standing.
“They are very exciting the three of them,” Moles said when asked about the trio. “We have three different bowlers who complement each other very well.
“In the associate world they are bullies.
“They’re fast, they’re nasty but with the full members they’re not bullies. There are plenty of bowlers in the full members who are around 150 (kmph).
“So they have to understand the level they’re at and while they have got high skill, they need to apply themselves for longer rather than think they’re going to blast people out.”
While Moles was pleased with the development of his quick bowlers during the World Cup, the injury to Mirwais Ashraf had upset the balance of their attack.
“Mirwais is a huge cog in our wheel. When things get a bit tough, the ball goes to him and he bowls consistently line and length, change of pace,” said Moles.
“He is someone we miss massively in the balance of our side.”