Saturday, July 20, 2024

First Time Ever! Afghanistan Qualifies for T20 World Cup Semi Finals

Afghanistan has qualified for the semi-finals of a World Cup for the first time by defeating Bangladesh in a thrilling low-scoring match in St Vincent.

This victory allowed Afghanistan to progress as runners-up from Super 8s Group 1, simultaneously eliminating heavyweights Australia from the tournament.

Afghanistan entered the match knowing they needed a win to advance to the knockout stage. However, they struggled in the first innings, setting a modest target of 115 for Bangladesh. The second innings was a rollercoaster, interrupted by rain and featuring multiple shifts in momentum. At various points, it seemed that Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and even Australia had a chance to advance.

Ultimately, Afghanistan emerged victorious, with captain Rashid Khan and Naveen-ul-Haq both taking four wickets each to secure an eight-run win. This triumph sets up a semi-final clash against South Africa in Trinidad on Thursday (01:30 BST). Afghanistan is now just one match away from potentially facing either England or India in the final on Saturday.

Bangladesh, who were also aiming to reach their first World Cup semi-final, needed a decisive victory to improve their net run-rate and qualify. They managed to restrict Afghanistan’s dangerous opening pair, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran, with leg-spinner Rishad Hossain taking 3-26.

With a reachable total set before them, Bangladesh needed to chase it down in 12.1 overs to qualify on net run-rate. However, they lost veteran Shakib Al Hasan and captain Najmul Hossain Shanto to successive deliveries from Naveen-ul-Haq in the third over, making their task much harder.

Despite their net run-rate ambitions being dashed, Bangladesh continued to fight for a consolation win, which would have allowed Australia to advance instead of Afghanistan. But captain Rashid Khan’s 4-23 kept Afghanistan in the game. Following a rain delay, Naveen-ul-Haq took the final two Bangladesh wickets, sparking joyous celebrations among the Afghan team.

This historic win not only marks Afghanistan’s first entry into a World Cup semi-final but also highlights their remarkable journey and growth in international cricket. As they prepare to face South Africa, the team and their fans eagerly await what could be another historic milestone in their cricketing journey.

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