Breaking News

Afghanistan’s T20 World Cup Hopes Revived After Beating Australia

Afghanistan's T20 World Cup Hopes Revived After Beating Australia

Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran shared a 118-run opening partnership, leading Afghanistan to a surprising 21-run victory over Australia in St Vincent on Saturday, keeping their semi-final hopes alive in the T20 World Cup.

Australia’s victory would have secured semi-final spots for both themselves and India. However, despite Pat Cummins’ second consecutive hat-trick, Australia’s unbeaten run was halted.

Read more: West Indies Easily Defeat USA By Nine Wickets To Progress In T20 World Cup 2024

Half-centuries from Gurbaz and Zadran powered Afghanistan to 148-6 in their 20 overs. Afghan bowlers then bowled out Australia for 127 on a challenging Kingstown pitch. Gulbadin Naib took 4-20, and Naveen-ul-Haq claimed 3-20. The century partnership from Gurbaz and Zadran laid the foundation for Afghanistan’s first-ever win over Australia, also keeping Bangladesh’s hopes alive.

India leads Group 1 with four points, followed by Australia and Afghanistan with two each, and Bangladesh in last place with none. India and Australia will clash in St Lucia on Monday, while Afghanistan faces Bangladesh in St Vincent on the same day.

Australia’s skipper Mitchell Marsh opted to bowl first and included left-arm spinner Ashton Agar instead of Mitchell Starc. Early on, it seemed the Australian bowlers would stifle the Afghan batsmen, but Gurbaz and Zadran settled in and accelerated in the middle overs. Their partnership put pressure on Australia, causing uncharacteristic fielding errors.

Gurbaz reached 60 before being dismissed by Marcus Stoinis in the 16th over. Adam Zampa then removed Azmatullah Omarzai (2) and Zadran (51) in the next over, and Cummins dismissed Rashid Khan in the 18th over. Cummins achieved a hat-trick by taking out Karim Janat and Naib with the first two balls of the 20th over. He nearly took a fourth consecutive wicket, but Warner dropped a catch.

With the ball, Afghanistan had a perfect start. Naveen bowled Travis Head for a duck and had Marsh caught for 12 in the third over. Warner fell for three off Mohammad Nabi’s first delivery, leaving Australia at 32-3. The Afghans increased the pressure, removing Stoinis and Tim David. Glenn Maxwell’s 59 off 41 balls gave Australia hope, but his dismissal by Naib, aided by Noor Ahmad’s acrobatic catch, sealed Australia’s fate.

Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Nangeyalia Kharote, Rashid Khan (c), Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi.

Australia: David Warner, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh (c), Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.