Afghanistan have impressed everyone with their performances in the ongoing World Cup. They have surprised some of the most high-profile teams and were on their way to even qualifying for the semi-finals had they carried forth from there.
As things stand, they will not qualify for the semi-finals of the World Cup. Nonetheless, they stand a good chance of qualifying for the ICC Champions Trophy, which is being reintroduced in 2025. If they manage to finish within the top eight teams at the end of the league stage, they will automatically qualify for the Champions Trophy.
One of the things that has stood out for Afghanistan in this World Cup is their stellar bowling performances in almost all the games that they played.
Theirs has traditionally been known as a spin-heavy bowling attack, but the inclusion of the likes of Fazalhaq Farooqi and Naveen-ul-Haq has changed perceptions across the cricketing world.
The likes of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman turned heads with their outstanding performances, but it has to be said that their bowlers have hunted in packs throughout this tournament. This is one of the reasons behind their success.
In this listicle, we take a look at the top three bowling performances from Afghanistan's players in this World Cup.
#1 Fazalhaq Farooqi, 4/34 vs Sri Lanka
Fazalhaq Farooqi's 4/34 against Sri Lanka comes first on this list. Played at the MCA Stadium in Pune on 30 October, Sri Lanka batted first and got all out for 241 in 49.3 overs.
One of the biggest reasons for the fall of wickets was Farooqi's 4/34, who picked up, amongst others, Dimuth Karunaratne and Charith Asalanka's wickets. Mujeeb Ur Rahman picked up a couple of wickets while Azmatullah Omarzai and Rashid Khan picked up a wicket each.
Afghanistan, in response, chased the runs down quite comfortably in the 46th over itself. Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi struck half-centuries to seal the win for their side.
Farooqi's left-arm pace adds a lot of depth to the Afghan bowling attack. He has been spoken of being one of the revelations of the ongoing World Cup.
#2 Mohammad Nabi, 3/28 vs the Netherlands
Mohammad Nabi's 3/28 came in another winning performance for Afghanistan in this World Cup, against the Netherlands at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow.
Choosing to bat first, the Dutch were bowled out for a paltry 179 within 47 overs, thanks mainly to offie Nabi's stellar showing.
He was responsible for picking up the big wickets of Bas de Leede and Logan van Beek as well as wrapping the innings up with the scalp of Paul van Meekeren in the end.
Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi again struck respective half-centuries to win the game for Afghanistan.
Nabi, the most senior player in the Afghanistan team, bowled with an accuracy that was the result of the years of experience he possesses.
#3 Rashid Khan, 3/37 vs England
Afghanistan caused perhaps the biggest upset of this World Cup when they beat England in the 13th match at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi.
Batting first, thanks to an 80 from Rahmanullah Gurbaz and 58 from Ikram Alakhil, Afghanistan set up a more than decent total of 284 runs on the board.
Set to chase it under the lights on a flat batting surface in a ground with fairly small boundaries, England capitulated meekly and were bowled out for 215 in the 41st over.
Rashid Khan was the wrecker-in-chief for the Afghans, picking up 3/37 while he was ably assisted by Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who picked up 3-51. Senior pro Mohammad Nabi also chipped in with a couple of wickets.
Afghanistan made headlines across the cricketing world owing to this performance of theirs, and Rashid's variety was widely talked about.
His ability to bowl the leg-break, googly and flipper all with similar release positions is what makes him different from his competitors.