Afghanistan script mother of all upsets to beat Australia in T20 World Cup Super 8, Gulbadin outshines Cummins hat-trick | Crickit
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Afghanistan script mother of all upsets to beat Australia in T20 World Cup Super 8, Gulbadin outshines Cummins hat-trick

Jun 23, 2024 10:05 AM IST

Pat Cummins' joy of claiming consecutive hat-tricks was short-lived as Afghanistan scripted one of the biggest upsets in the history of T20 World Cup.

Pat Cummins' joy of claiming consecutive hat-tricks was short-lived as Afghanistan scripted one of the biggest upsets in the history of the T20 World Cup by defeating Australia by 21 runs in their Super 8 tie on Sunday. Chasing 149 to win, Australia, barring Glenn Maxwell's 59 off 41 balls, could not get going as Gulbadin Naib's stellar 4/20 and Naveen-ul-Haq's 3/20 bowled them out for 127. Almost eight months after coming agonisingly close to defeating Australia at the ODI World Cup last November, their dreams were realised today in Kingstown.

Unreal scenes as Afghanistan beat Australia at the T20 World Cup(AP)
Unreal scenes as Afghanistan beat Australia at the T20 World Cup(AP)

Afghanistan's win all but secures India's spot in the semi-finals and sets Australia up for a must-win game against the 2007 Champions on Monday. If India beat Australia and Afghanistan beat Bangladesh, the two teams in blue advance to the knockouts. If Australia beat India, and Bangladesh managed to defeat Afghanistan, a lot will boil down to the net run rate. Currently, India is leading the group with 4 points, followed by Australia at second and Afghanistan placed third.

This is Afghanistan's first win over Australia in any format, with Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran setting up the platform with fine half-centuries. Cummins joined Wasim Akram by becoming only the second bowler to claim back-to-back hat-tricks in international cricket, but Australia's struggles with the bat could be gauged by the fact that only three of their batters registered double-digit scores. After being reduced to 32/2 and then 71/4, Afghanistan sniffed history, and only one man stood in their way.

Glenn Maxwell was about to do it again. Off came the helmet as the Big Show raced to a quickfire half-century, but this time around, the finishing touches went missing. Maxwell slashed Gulbadin to point where Noor Ahmed took a stunning catch. Off came the wheels and with every over, Afghanistan sensed history. Gulbadin, Rashid Khan and Naveen-ul-Haq picked up the pieces, and euphoric scenes were triggered when Adam Zampa found Mohammad Nabi at long-on.

Australia's chase rocked early

Australia's chase struggled from the first over. Naveen cleaned up Travis Head for a three-ball duck and Nabi had David Warner top-edging to get out. Gulbadin then spring into action, foxing the dangerous Marcus Stoinis with a short ball. However, as long as Maxwell was batting, flashes of Mumbai, November 9 came flooding back as he struck six fours and three sixes at a rollicking pace.

Afghanistan, who exuded fielding brilliance, were put under the pump as Karim Jannat misfielded to gift Maxwell and Australia a boundary as the asking rate threatening to climb at 10 an over, but just when lightening was about to strike twice, Gulbadin took out Maxwell and Tim David in a span of two overs to tilt the balance heavily in his team's favour.

Afghanistan's cricket continues to improve with this win. Not too long ago, they beat three World Champions at the ODI World Cup, having registered wins over England, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. A few days ago, Afghanistan kept their giant-killing spree alive when they demolished New Zealand by 74 runs.

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