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Afghanistan book SF berth in T20 WC, bring hope to terrorism-torn nation

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St Vincent: Terrorism-ravaged Afghanistan created history on Tuesday by reaching the semifinals of the T20 World Cup for the first time with a nail-biting 8-run victory over Bangladesh at the Arnos Vale Ground in St Vincent. This remarkable win not only secured their spot in the semifinals but also eliminated both Australia and Bangladesh from the competition.

For the people of Afghanistan, this victory represents a beacon of hope amidst the ongoing struggles and turmoil in their homeland. The tenacity and grit shown by the Afghan cricket team reflect the spirit of a nation striving for a better future despite the challenges it faces.

In a game filled with tension and thrilling moments, Afghanistan’s bowlers delivered a spirited performance that captivated cricket fans worldwide. Skipper Rashid Khan was the standout player, leading from the front with exceptional figures of 4/23. His leadership and skill were crucial in guiding Afghanistan to this historic achievement.

The match was a roller-coaster of emotions, with both teams fighting hard for a place in the semifinals. Afghanistan bowlers held their nerve in the crucial moments, ensuring they defended their total successfully. The victory by 8 runs demonstrated their perseverance and stubbornness.

With this win, Afghanistan is set to face South Africa in the semifinal, marking another significant milestone in their cricketing journey. The team’s outstanding performance in this tournament has captured the hearts of cricket fans and added a new chapter to their remarkable story.

Afghanistan openers, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran, started cautiously, taking the team to 27/0 at the end of the Powerplay. The first breakthrough for Bangladesh came in the 12th over when Zadran (18 off 29) was caught out. Gurbaz, holding the innings together, scored a crucial 43 off 55 balls before being dismissed in the 16th over. Rashid Khan’s late cameo pushed Afghanistan to 115/5 in 20 overs.

Bangladesh’s chase began with a quick start but faced immediate setbacks. Fazalhaq Farooqi and Naveen-ul-Haq struck early, reducing Bangladesh to 13/3 within the first three overs. Despite a brief recovery led by Litton Das and Soumya Sarkar, the pressure from Afghanistan’s bowlers, particularly Rashid Khan, proved too much. Bangladesh fell short under the DLS method as rain interruptions added to the drama.

For Afghanistan, this victory is more than just a cricket match win; it symbolises the fortitude and optimism of a nation that has endured immense hardships. As the team prepares for the semifinal, the people of Afghanistan rally behind their heroes, finding joy and unity in their cricketing success amidst the ongoing challenges they face.

Australia, a team renowned for its cricketing prowess, faced an unexpected exit from the T20 World Cup following Afghanistan’s victory. Despite being strong contenders, the Aussies struggled to maintain consistency throughout the tournament. Their elimination was sealed after a series of disappointing performances and crucial losses, which prevented them from advancing to the knockout stages.

The Australian team’s campaign had its share of highs and lows. Key players like Travis Head showed flashes of brilliance, but the team failed to click as a cohesive unit. Their exit from the tournament marks a significant moment, prompting reflection on their strategies and performance. The early departure is sure to spark discussions about the future direction of Australian T20 cricket and the changes needed to regain their competitive edge.

The shock of Australia’s elimination resonates deeply with their fans, who are accustomed to seeing their team advance to the latter stages of major tournaments.

Brief Scores: Afghanistan 115/5 in 20 overs (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 43; Rishad Hossain 3-26) beat Bangladesh 105 in 17.5 overs (Litton Das 54*; Rashid Khan 4-23, Naveen Ul Haq 4-26) by 8 runs (DLS Method)

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