Rahmanullah Gurbaz hides his face from camera, cries after Afghanistan's historic entry into T20 World Cup semis | Crickit
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Rahmanullah Gurbaz hides his face from camera, cries after Afghanistan's historic entry into T20 World Cup semis

Jun 25, 2024 08:56 PM IST

Rahmanullah Gurbaz was in tears after Afghanistan beat Bangladesh to reach the T20 World Cup semi-finals for the first time.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Afghanistan's best batter in the T20 World Cup 2024, could not hold back his tears in the dressing room. As all of his teammates and support staff invaded the playing area like kids in a toy shop offering a distress sale, he sat in the dressing room, trying his best to cover his face from the cameras. The flow of the tears, however, was too much. After a point, he just let them flow.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz in tears after Afghanistan beat Bangladesh
Rahmanullah Gurbaz in tears after Afghanistan beat Bangladesh

Afghanistan's highest-scorer in this World Cup had to be a spectator almost throughout the nerve-wreaking Bangladesh chase in his side's must-win Super Eight Group 1 match due to a knee injury. In the last ball of the opening over of Bangladesh's chase, a Naveen-ul-Haq full and wide delivery hit Gurbaz on his left knee and took him out for the rest of the match. He was grimacing in pain while walking off the field with the help of the physio.

Mohammed Ishaq kept for the rest of the match. Gurbaz, however, lived every moment of the game from the dressing room. His movement was restricted but his voice was not. He roared with every wicket the Afghan bowlers took and gasped whenever a boundary came from a Bangladesh batter.

One look at Gurbaz was enough to know where Afghanistan stood in the match. For the better part, he tensed as Bangladesh looked poised to chase down the 116-run target but as they have done so often in this tournament, the Afghans fought back. First it was through Naveen's double strike in the third over then it was captain Rashid Khan with two wickets in two balls in the 11th over.

And finally, when the equation was down to 12 runs off balls, Naveen bowled a fantastic over that had again had wickets off successive balls to take Afghanistan to glory.

In between, there were multiple rai stoppages - the last one reduced the game to 19 overs and brought Bangladesh's target to 114 - and the Gulbadin Naib theatrics as a time-wasting tactic but nothing surpassed the raw emotions that the Afghanistan cricketers showed after Naveen got the last Bangladeshi wicket.

It not only ensured their victory but also gave them their first-ever semi-final confirmation in an ICC event. Rashid Khan led the group as the Afghan cricketers decided to take a lap of honour. Gurbaz wasn't forgotten. He was carried on the shoulders by a support staff member. It was a thank you note for carrying the Afghanistan batting right through the tournament.

Gurbaz's job is not over; neither is Afghanistan. They have already created history but they can take it several notches higher if they manage to beat South Africa in the first semi-final on June 27.

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