Star spinner Rashid Khan said Afghanistan would bounce back from their opening loss to England at the Twenty20 World Cup having shown “promising talent” in the five-wicket defeat.
England bowled out Afghanistan for a paltry 112 in Perth on Saturday but the Afghan spin force led by Rashid dragged the opposition chase to the 19th over by taking five wickets.
“First game for the guys. A different environment for all the youngsters in the team. First time playing in Australia and the conditions, facing the bowlers with speeds of 150 plus, so a great learning for them,” said the leg-spinner.
“But definitely we will come back. Some promising talent is there. We are going to be much improved in the upcoming games. Batting is the area we need to work on.”
Afghanistan will next play New Zealand on Wednesday in Melbourne.
Afghanistan’s batting fell flat with left-arm quick bowler Sam Curran becoming the first England bowler to take five wickets in a Twenty20 international.
Rashid returned impressive figures of 1-17 in his four overs and was ably supported by fellow spinners Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman as they looked to restrict England, one of the tournament favourites.
Mujeeb got Dawid Malan with his mystery spin and off-spinner Nabi bowled Stokes for two before Liam Livingstone took England home with an unbeaten 29 off 21 balls.
“The way we bowled it showed anything between 150-160 will be a good total for us,” Rashid said.
Afghanistan played two left-arm quick bowlers Fazalhaq Farooqui and Fareed Ahmed, but they rely on spin to win matches.
Rashid said he, Mujeeb and Nabi, would be able to benefit from their experience of playing in Australia’s Big Bash League.
“It’s just about the conditions you adjust yourself to. You understand what is the right length and right area to ball on that wicket,” said Rashid.
“We have five to six years of experience in the Big Bash. So we have that in the mind and need to keep it simple.”
Afghanistan stunned Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the Asia Cup T20 tournament in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year.
They missed out on the final spot after losing a last-over thriller to Pakistan and Rashid said Afghanistan could beat anyone on their day.
“You don’t know with T20, what’s going to happen to any team. It’s not like someone is strong, someone is very weak. you have seen in the qualifiers that West Indies were knocked out,” said Rashid.
“Anything can happen, it’s just about having the positive mindset and having the self-belief that yes we are capable of beating any side.”