How Afghanistan's win vs Bangladesh to reach historic semifinal knocked Australia, India's nemesis, out of T20 World Cup | Crickit

How Afghanistan's win vs Bangladesh to reach historic semifinal knocked Australia, India's nemesis, out of T20 World Cup

Jun 25, 2024 11:12 AM IST

Afghanistan knocked Australia out of T20 World Cup and reach their maiden ICC-event semifinal.

The 2024 T20 World Cup continues to throw surprises. Australia, the 2021 champions have been knocked out, following Afghanistan's historic win against Bangladesh in the final Super Eight fixture in Kingstown on Tuesday. After finishing their innings on 115/5, not many gave Afghanistan a chance, but thanks to some spirited bowling, Afghanistan did the unthinkable, pulling off a narrow eight-run DLS win and, in the process, sending Australia back home.

Afghanistan created history while Australia were left to lick their wounds.(AP)
Afghanistan created history while Australia were left to lick their wounds.(AP)

The equation was simple. Ahead of the game, Australia and Afghanistan were on 2 points each, with the already-qualified India leading the group with six points. In order for Australia to qualify, they needed Bangladesh to beat Afghanistan, albeit not too comprehensively. Simply out, Bangladesh needed to chase down 116 in 12.1 overs or before (12.4 if they hit a six after levelling the scores). Anything after 12.1 overs and Australia would have qualified.

Bangladesh were rocked early, getting reduced to 23/2, so they had to play out the rest of the innings carefully. The chances of Bangladesh qualifying were over as they reached the 12.1 over margin way below the number of runs needed. It then brought it down to Afghanistan vs Australia – a one-way shoot out for a place in the semifinals. If Afghanistan won, they would go through and Australia out. If Bangladesh rallied through to win the contest, Australia would have a shot at a second T20 World Cup title.

Too many twists and turns

Bangladesh lost wickets at regular intervals but Litton Das kept their hopes alive with a 41-ball fifty. With rain causing as many as four interventions during the match – the penultimate rain brought DLS into the equation, with Bangladesh needing to knock off 114 in 19 overs. And they were well on their way with Litton holding one end up.

But then came the moment every Afghanistan fan was waiting for. With 9 runs still needed to win off 9 balls, Naveen-Ul-Haq produced an over for the ages, first having Taskin Ahmed play on and then trapping Mustafizur Rahman out LBW for a first-ball duck, paving the way for Afghanistan's first-ever T20 World Cup semifinals and eliminating Australia.

The result will help India beath a sigh of relief. Australia have been a thorn in India's eyes when it comes to World Cup knockouts – be it the 2003 ODI World Cup final or the more recent 2023 WC final. India have gotten the upper hand over Australia twice as well, beating the mighty Aussies in the 2007 T20 World Cup semifinals and the 2016 World T20 quarterfinal. But the wound of November 19, that's been been hurting a plethora of Indian fans even after 8 months, would heal a bit knowing Australia no longer stand in India's way.

Australia's misery, which began with a shock defeat to Afghanistan two days ago, were exposed by the Men in Blue last evening. Led by Rohit Sharma's stunning onslaught 92-run onslaught, India beat Australia by 24 runs to ease some pain. Travis Head, India's nemesis in their last two ICC finals – 2023 World Cup and the World Test Championship final – looked set to be doing it again, racing to 76 off 43 balls, but Jasprit Bumrah returned with his magic to pick up the big wicket and see his team through.

Rohit's men now face England in the 2nd semifinal on Thursday evening, another team that has a history of breaking Indian hearts. It was two years ago that England pummelled India by 10 wickets in the semifinal of the 2022 T20 World Cup, and with both teams set to play a repeat of the Adelaide knockout in 36 hours from now, the stakes cannot be higher.

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