WORLD T20: Afghans shock Australia to keep semi-final hopes alive

SUMMARY: Afghanistan 148-6 from 20 overs (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 60, Ibrahim Zadran 51, Karim Janat 13, Mohammad Nabi 10*; Pat Cummins 3-28, Adam Zampa 2-28, Marcus Stoinis 1-19) vs Australia 127 all out from 19.2 overs (Glenn Maxwell 59; Gulbadin Naib 4-20, Naveen-ul-Haq 3-20)

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Afghanistan shocked Australia to keep their T20 World Cup hopes alive with an historic 21-run win in St. Vincent.

Needing a victory to avoid elimination, Afghanistan posted 148-6 on a challenging surface on the back of a superb opening stand of 118 between Rahmanullah Gurbaz (60 off 48; 4x4s, 4x6s) and Ibrahim Zadran (51 off 48; 6x4s).

The Afghan openers put together their third century stand of the World Cup (Photo: ICC via Getty Images)

They quickly reduced Australia to 32-3 in the chase, but Glenn Maxwell’s 35-ball half-century recovered the situation for the 2021 champions.

But just when Australia seemed to have the advantage, Gulbadin Naib removed Marcus Stoinis and Tim David before claiming the prize scalp of Maxwell (59 off 41; 6x4s, 3x6s).

From there Australia collapsed from 106-6 to 113-9 and Afghanistan sealed the win- their first over Australia in any form of cricket- in the final over.

Glenn Maxwell kept Australia in the game momentarily (Photo: ICC via Getty Images)

“We’ve been waiting for a long time, it’s a great moment for me, my nation, my people,” said Player-of-the-Match Gulbadin.

Pat Cummins had earlier taken his second hat-trick in as many games- the first player to achieve the feat in T20 internationals- but despite Australia’s fightback with the ball, Afghanistan’s total proved to be beyond them.

Gulbadin Naib produced a memorable spell to rock Australia (Photo: ICC via Getty Images)

Rashid Khan’s side are now firmly back in contention to reach the semi-finals and face Bangladesh in their last Super Eight game on Monday night.

“It’s a massive win for us as a team and as a nation,” added Rashid. “In a World Cup, to beat champions [Australia are 50-over world champions] is a great feeling and it is something we have missed.

“It’s just the beginning for us and we have every chance of making the semis.”

Meanwhile, Australia take on India in St. Lucia on Monday morning and will likely need to win to progress to the last four. (BBC)

 

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