Afghanistan seal a dramatic win - Australia knocked out

Tuesday, 25 June 2024 - 10:54

Afghanistan 115 for 5 (Gurbaz 43, Rishad 3-26) beat Bangladesh 105 (Litton 54*, Rashid 4-23, Naveen 4-26) by eight runs via DLS method

Afghanistan sealed a dramatic win by 8 runs (via DLS method), in a dramatic rain-affected Super 8 encounter against Bangladesh. Australia are sent packing from the tournament, as they needed a Bangladesh win to qualify.

This will be Afghanistan's first appearance at the semi-finals of a major ICC event. Despite Litton Das carrying the bat to the end with a battling half-century, Rashid Khan's four-wicket haul inspired Afghanistan to victory, defending a low total.

Earlier, Rashid had also hit a 10-ball 19 run cameo with the bat, which took Afghanistan beyond the 100-run total.

Jonathan Trott first kicked a bag in the dressing room. He then signaled to Afghanistan to slow the game down when rain was around. Rashid Khan had his hands on his head at various moments in the chase. Mohammad Nabi had a constant smile on his face. Dwayne Bravo wasn't able to watch it.

But the one moment that encapsulated the emotionally-charged night in Kingstown was Naveen-ul-Haq taking off after taking the final Bangladesh wicket. That sealed Afghanistan's maiden spot in the semi-final of any men's senior World Cup.

In a match that had a start-stop nature owing to multiple rain interventions, Afghanistan - led by four-fors from Naveen and Rashid - edged out Bangladesh by a mere eight runs, and in the process, also knocked Australia out of the T20 World Cup 2024.

Rashid Khan: "It's a dream for us to be in the semi-finals. The way we started the tournament, the belief came when we beat New Zealand. It's unbelievable. The only guy who put us inthe semi-finals was Brian Lara and we proved him right. When we met him at a welcome party, I told him we won't let you down. We thought 130-135 was a good score but we fell 15 runs short. We knew they would come hard at us and we knew that is what we could take advantage of. We didn't need to do anything extra, just be clear in our plans. We wanted to make people back home happy, that was the discussion we had and everyone did a wonderful job. [On the new ball bowlers] In T20s if you get a good start, it helps us in the middle overs. They have given great starts to us in the whole competition. It makes it easier for us to go harder at the batsmen. They have delivered, they were very clear in their minds. [On the Gulbadin situation] Rain is something not in our hands but mentally we knew we have to play 20 overs and take 10 wickets. That's the only way we could win. But Gulbadin he had some cramps. But his wicket was invaluable to us. It's a massive celebration back home. It's a big achievement for us as well. We have done that at U-19 level but at this World Cup, I don't have any words to describe the feeling back home. We have to go into the semis with a very clear mind and make sure we enjoy the occasion." He signs off with a message in Pashto.

Najmul Hossain Shanto: "I think we bowled really well. As a bowling unit we did a lot of good things. But as a batting unit we made some poor decisions specially in the middle overs. Normal plan was first three wickets we go hard, especially in the first six overs, and if we lose early wickets we play normally. But we didn't execute that. Whole tournament we bowled really well, especially Rishad the new guy came and bowled really well, I am really happy for him. As a fielding team we did a lot of good things, took really good catches. As a batting unit we really need to improve a not. Going forward we need to think about our batting. [On the rain delays] It happened but we can't make excuses. Also with the ball getting wet it was coming on nicely so that was a good thing."

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