ICC Men's T20 WC'24: Afghanistan Beats Bangladesh, Reaches First Semifinal

ICC Men's T20 WC'24: Afghanistan Beats Bangladesh, Reaches First Semifinal
Afghanistan secured a thrilling victory against Bangladesh by eight runs in a low-scoring Super Eight match affected by rain, booking their first-ever T20 World Cup semifinal spot. Batting first, Afghanistan managed a modest 115/5 in their 20 overs. However, Rashid Khan and Naveen-ul-Haq delivered exceptional bowling performances to defend the total. Bangladesh, chasing a revised DLS target of 114 in 19 overs due to rain interruptions, faltered and were bowled out for 105 in 17.5 overs. This result also eliminated Australia from the tournament.
Rashid Khan ended with figures of 4-23, while Naveen-ul-Haq claimed 4-26 in Afghanistan's historic victory. Afghanistan had a sluggish start with the bat, managing only 27/0 by the end of the Powerplay, finding runs difficult to come by. In the very first over, opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz narrowly escaped being run out attempting a quick single. Despite Bangladesh initially controlling the run rate, they conceded 13 extras in the first nine overs. At the drinks break, Afghanistan were 58/0 and needed to accelerate their scoring rate.
The breakthrough wicket came on the fourth ball of the 11th over when Zadran (18 off 29) failed to clear long off. The 12th over was a well-timed maiden, increasing the pressure on Afghanistan's batters. Azmatullah Omarzai was removed cheaply, and Gurbaz (43 off 55) fell two balls into the 16th over after his crucial contribution for Afghanistan to post a remotely competitive total.
Defending 115, Gurbaz was back in focus as play finally resumed, but not on a positive note. An awkwardly bouncing ball struck the keeper on the knee and he limped off the ground. Fazalhaq Farooqi removed Bangladesh opener Tanzid Hasan (0 off 3) in the second over of the chase. And Naveen-ul-Haq struck two huge blows in the third over, including the captain Najmul Hossain Shanto for 5. Midway through the fourth over, the rain arrived again. The second delay would exhaust the match’s time reserve – any more delay and DLS would come into effect.
Then came Rashid into the attack, who removed Soumya Sarkar (10 off 10). The pressure was again on Bangladesh, who needed to complete the run chase in 12.1 overs to overtake Australia and qualify for the final four. Back-to-back boundaries from Towhid Hridoy in the eighth over swung momentum away from Afghanistan, but Rashid took care of Hridoy's next over, making another twist in the game.
Rashid Khan then struck with consecutive wickets, dismissing Mahmudullah in the 11th over to tilt the balance in Afghanistan's favor. His figures stood at an impressive 4-17 from three overs, highlighting his outstanding performance. Just as Afghanistan were two runs ahead of the DLS par score, rain interrupted play once again. However, this delay was brief, and play resumed shortly after. Bangladesh regained the lead over the par score in the 13th over, although their hopes of reaching the semifinals were officially dashed.
Needing 20 runs from the final four overs, Litton Das found relief with a crucial boundary that propelled him to a half-century off 41 balls. However, Bangladesh suffered a setback when Taskin Ahmed (2 off 9) chopped on a delivery from Naveen-ul-Haq, leaving them at 109/9 with nine runs required from eight balls. Mustafizur Rahman entered the fray, aiming to stay at the crease, but was dismissed LBW on his first delivery to Naveen-ul-Haq, who secured his fourth wicket and clinched a dramatic victory for Afghanistan, propelling them into the semifinals.
Source: IANS