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22 Jul 2024 10:18
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Cricket

    Australia records historic 21-run loss to Afghanistan as T20 World Cup hopes hang in the balance

    Australia records a shock 21-run defeat to Afghanistan that throws its semifinal chances into jeopardy at the men's T20 World Cup.

    Australia has registered a shock 21-run defeat to Afghanistan that throws its semifinal hopes into jeopardy at the men's Twenty20 World Cup.

    Afghanistan's first win over Australia in any format came after openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz (60 off 49 deliveries) and Ibrahim Zadran (51 off 48) defied a fiendish St Vincent wicket for a 118-run stand in the Super Eight match.

    It was the highest opening partnership recorded against Australia in men's T20s.


    With his second hat-trick in as many matches, Pat Cummins (3-28) helped Australia claw back and restrict Afghanistan to 6-148 on Sunday AEST.

    But chasing 149, Australia was bamboozled by the tough conditions, falling to 3-32 late in the powerplay as the Afghan quicks began a dominant stay at the crease.

    Glenn Maxwell (59 off 41) played himself back into form with the bat and threatened to reprise his role as Afghanistan's bogeyman, following a double-century at the ODI World Cup last year.

    But Afghanistan could smell victory when the all-rounder clipped player-of-the-match Gulbadin Naib (4-20) to backward point, where Noor Ahmad took a tough chance in the 15th over.

    Australia was all out for 127 in the final over, left to rue some sloppy fielding and a sluggish start with the bat.

    The loss means Australia may need to rely on net run-rate to make the final four even if it is able to beat India in its last Super Eight match on Tuesday AEST.

    "It becomes really clear now we just need to win and there's no better team to do it against than against one of the biggest challenges in world cricket," Australia captain Mitch Marsh told Prime Video.

    "We'll remain positive. We had an off night tonight. 

    "Absolute full credit to Afghanistan, I thought they were brilliant."

    Afghanistan's historic victory keeps its hopes of a fairytale semifinal berth alive ahead of its third Super Eight match against Bangladesh.

    "We [were] waiting for a long time," Gulbadin said.

    "It's a great moment for … not only for me, [but] for my nation, for my people.

    "It's a big achievement for our cricket."

    After winning the toss, Australia dropped five chances in the field, the first two coming during the blistering opening stand.

    As Gurbaz and Ibrahim wreaked havoc, Matthew Wade missed an easy opportunity for a stumping and Australia twice leaked fours following misfields from Ashton Agar, who was named ahead of Mitchell Starc.

    After dropping an earlier chance, Marcus Stoinis (1-19) had a long-overdue breakthrough when Gurbaz picked out David Warner at deep backward square leg.

    When that wicket eventually came — in the 16th over — it was the longest Australia had gone in a T20I without taking a wicket.

    Adam Zampa (2-28) and Cummins ensured Afghanistan's batting order never clicked back into gear once the opening partnership was broken.

    Cummins became the first player to take hat-tricks in consecutive T20 matches when Gulbadin (0) pulled him to Maxwell at deep midwicket in the final over.

    He could have had another wicket off the next ball had the usually reliable Warner held onto Nangeyalia Kharote at deep point.

    Naveen-ul-Haq (3-20) vindicated the decision to start Afghanistan's innings with pace, swinging the ball into Travis Head's middle stump on the third ball of Australia's innings.

    The removal of Head (0) and Marsh (12) inside three overs raised the alarm, and Australia was officially in panic mode when Afghanistan injected spin for the first time.

    Warner (3) skied Mohammad Nabi (1-1) to short fine leg on the off-spinner's first delivery and set the stage for Maxwell to haunt Afghanistan again.

    But when Maxwell's gutsy knock came to an end, Australia was into the bowlers and limping to the finish at 6-106.

    With Australia requiring 24 runs from the final over, Azmatullah Omarzai sealed victory when Zampa hit him to Nabi at long on with four balls left.


    Look back at how the action unfolded in our blog.


    © 2024 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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