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Fairytale continues: Afghanistan’s bravehearts make first ever T20 World Cup semifinal

In the process, Rashid’s maverick team knocked out 2021 champion Australia after having humbled it in its previous Super 8 match. The Afghans will now face South Africa in the last-four stage on June 27.

Fairytale continues: Afghanistan’s bravehearts make first ever T20 World Cup semifinal
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Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan celebrates a wicket

KINGSTOWN: The redoubtable Rashid Khan led the way as Afghanistan qualified for its maiden T20 World Cup semifinal with an eight-run win over Bangladesh in a rain-hit Super 8 match here, adding a golden chapter to its cricketing history that has survived war, political ostracization and lack of even a base at home.

In the process, Rashid’s maverick team knocked out 2021 champion Australia after having humbled it in its previous Super 8 match. The Afghans will now face South Africa in the last-four stage on June 27.

Opting to bat after winning the toss, Afghanistan’s batting stumbled to a below-par 115/5 as Bangladesh bowlers made the most of a tricky pitch, bowling as many as 66 dot balls.

Leg-spinner Rishad Hossain, 3/26, led the charge while for Afghanistan, opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz hit a painstaking 43 off 55 balls.

The match was eventually truncated to 19-overs-a-side due to frequent rain interruptions and Bangladesh was given a revised target of 114.

Afghanistan then showed just why and how it has managed to come this far in international cricket since becoming a full ICC member only in 2017, producing a gritty bowling performance, spearheaded by Rashid (4/23) and pacer Naveen-ul-Haq (4/26).

Their heroics ensured a successful and historic defence of the low score as Bangladesh was bowled out for 105 in 17.5 overs.

Litton Das (54 not out) was the lone warrior for Bangladesh in the game that also featured some questionable delaying tactics by the Afghans when they were ahead on DLS par score.

The Afghans’ job was made easy by India, which handed Australia a 24-run defeat on Monday.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the Australians have been sent packing from the tournament by India and a team that considers India its home base for the lack of amenities in its strife-ravaged country.

Afghanistan has relied on its opening pair with the bat and bowl to set up its victories and the script was no different on Tuesday.

While Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran forged a crucial 59-run stand with the bat, Fazalhaq Farooqi and Naveen picked up wickets upfront.

Farooqi, who has made a habit of snaring early wickets, did exactly that as he sent Tanzid Hasan (0) packing in the second over which was followed by Naveen’s spectacular over in which the pacer claimed the scalps of Bangladesh skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto (5) and Shakib Al-Hasan (0).

Bangladesh was 31/3 when rain halted the proceedings. It resumed play on an aggressive note, clawing its way to 46/3 at the six-over mark.

Rashid then introduced himself and worked his inimitable sorcery.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 115/5 in 20 overs (R Gurbaz 43, R Hossain 3/26) bt Bangladesh 105 in 17.5 overs (L Das 54*, R Khan 4/23, N-ul-Haq 4/26). Afghanistan won by 8 runs on DLS method

DTNEXT Bureau
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