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Afghanistan shock Australia by 21 runs in Super 8s match of T20 WC

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Kingstown, June 23: Afghanistan pulled off an upset of epic proportions with a shock 21-run win over mighty Australia in T20 World Cup with Gulbadin Naib’s four-wicket haul upending Pat Cummins’ hat-trick to produce one of most memorable days in Afghan cricket.
Using the slower balls smartly on a difficult batting wicket, Afghanistan defended their total of 148 for six for their first-ever win over Australia in international cricket.
Australia were all out for 127 in 19.2 overs in the Super Eight contest and they are now staring at early elimination from the World Cup. Australia now must win their match against India on Monday and also hope that Afghanistan lose to Bangladesh in their next match.Afghanistan openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz (60) and Ibrahim Zadran (51) forged a 118-run partnership setting up base for a challenging total but Pat Cummins registered his second successive hat-trick spread across two overs to restrict Afghanistan to a manageable total.
Australia were reduced to 32 for 3 in the powerplay but Glenn Maxwell slammed a 41-ball 59 to somewhat resurrect the chase. However Naib’s timely strikes proved crucial in toppling the 2021 champions. Afghanistan exacted revenge for their defeat in Mumbai during the ODI World Cup. Maxwell had snatched victory from Aghans at that time and on Saturday too he threatened to deny them but Naib’s brilliance ensured them the win.
“It’s massive win for us as a team and as a nation. Great feeling. It’s something we missed in last two years. Really happy with the win and super proud of the guys,” Afghanistan skipper Rashid Khan said at the post-match presentation.
“The way Gulbadin bowled today – the experience he has, it came good today. The way Nabi started – the wicket of Warner – was also pleasing to see.It’s so important for us back home and around the world. I’m sure they’re proud and would’ve enjoyed the game,” he added.The result has opened up the Group 1 as both Australia and Afghanistan now have one win each with one match to go, while India sit atop the table with two wins from as many games.
Defending 149 on a spin-friendly wicket, Afghanistan had the perfect start as Naveen-ul-Haq picked up two early wickets with the new ball to peg Australia back.
First Naveen cleaned up Travis Head for a duck with a fuller delivery and then he deceived the skipper Mitch Marsh with a slower delivery as he holed out to Nabi.
Maxwell eased the pressure with two fours off Azmatullah but Nabi removed David Warner (3), who went for a slog sweep only to find Noor Ahmad as Australia scored the lowest Powerplay score of 33 for 3 this World Cup.
Maxwell, who had tormented Afghanistan during the ODI World Cup last year, continued to find the boundaries as he clattered spinner Nangeyalia Kharote for a four and a six.
Naib then struck twice to give Afghanistan hope as he surprised Marcus Stoinis with a bouncer. The batter top-edged it to find Gurbaz. He next trapped Tim David as Australia slipped to 85 for 5 in the 13th over.
Maxwell slammed a six off Rashid Khan and Naib in 12th and 13th overs to keep Australia’s chase on track.
Naib returned to pick his most prized cap, dismissing the dangerous Maxwell in the 15th over and then Rashid removed Matthew Wade as their chase fell apart. (PTI)

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