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Afghanistan Makes History: Enters World Cup Semifinals, Knocks Out Australia

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Afghanistan Makes History: Enters World Cup Semifinals, Knocks Out Australia. In a historic achievement, Afghanistan has secured a place in the semifinals of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, ousting Australia and leaving the cricketing world in awe. The dramatic match against Bangladesh saw Afghanistan edge out their opponents in a nail-biting contest that will be remembered for its tension and excitement.

Afghanistan needed a victory over Bangladesh to secure their semifinal berth. The stakes were high, and the game lived up to its billing as one of the most thrilling encounters in World Cup history. By clinching second spot in Group 1 of the Super Eights, Afghanistan ended Australia’s campaign and joined India, England, and South Africa as the tournament’s final four contenders.

The Tigers, too, were in contention, needing not just a win but a decisive one to advance. However, the real battle was between Afghanistan and Australia for the semifinal spot. Bangladesh’s run chase in St Vincent saw numerous twists and turns, adding to the drama.

Rashid Khan, Afghanistan’s captain, won the toss and chose to bat first. The action began immediately as opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz narrowly avoided a run-out on the first ball. This set the tone for a match filled with tension.

Bangladesh’s bowlers made scoring difficult, limiting Afghanistan to just five runs in the first two overs. However, Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran focused on preserving their wickets, guiding Afghanistan to 27/0 by the end of the Powerplay. They continued to build, reaching another 50-run partnership early in the ninth over, making history as the first pair to achieve four 50-plus stands in a T20 World Cup.

Despite Bangladesh’s efforts to keep the run rate in check, extras piled up – 13 in the first nine overs. Afghanistan reached 58/0 at the drinks break but needed to accelerate. The breakthrough came shortly after, with Zadran (18 off 29) falling and a maiden over following, increasing the pressure.

Gurbaz, crucial to Afghanistan’s total, was dismissed for 43 off 55 early in the 16th over. Bangladesh took two more wickets before the 18th over, leaving Afghanistan at 99/5. Rashid Khan’s entertaining cameo, which included three sixes, pushed Afghanistan to 115/5 from their 20 overs, just as rain arrived in St Vincent.

The rain delay added to the tension, but play eventually resumed. Gurbaz’s knee injury caused another brief halt, but the game continued with Fazalhaq Farooqi quickly removing Tanzid Hasan. Naveen-ul-Haq struck twice in the third over, including the Bangladesh captain, intensifying the contest.

Midway through the fourth over, rain returned, threatening to bring the DLS method into play. Bangladesh reached 46/3 at the end of the Powerplay, with Litton Das and Soumya Sarkar building a partnership. Rashid Khan’s introduction into the attack immediately paid off as he removed Sarkar, shifting momentum back to Afghanistan.

Bangladesh needed to complete their chase in 12.1 overs to surpass Australia. Back-to-back boundaries by Towhid Hridoy in the eighth over momentarily shifted momentum, but Khan struck again, removing Hridoy and further complicating Bangladesh’s chase. At drinks, Bangladesh was 77/5, still in the hunt.

In a match full of twists, Khan took two crucial wickets to end the 11th over, including veteran Mahmudullah, and kept the contest balanced. With figures of 17/4 from three overs, Khan was pivotal in Afghanistan’s defense.

The rain returned briefly, placing Afghanistan slightly ahead by DLS par. However, play resumed, and Bangladesh edged in front in the 13th over, though their semifinal hopes were dashed. Khan finished with 23/4, a stellar performance.

As the chase boiled down to 20 runs from four overs, Litton Das reached his half-century but lost Taskin Ahmed, making it 109/9 with nine runs needed from the final eight deliveries. Mustafizur Rahman, focusing on survival, was out LBW first ball, leading to Afghanistan’s victory.

Afghanistan’s triumph in this high-stakes match secured their semifinal spot and marked a historic moment for the team. The victory was a mixture of joy for Afghanistan and heartbreak for Bangladesh and Australia.

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