Australia eliminated as Afghanistan beat Bangladesh to reach T20 World Cup semis – The Guardian

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Australia have been bundled out of the T20 World Cup after Afghanistan secured a historic eight-run win over Bangladesh in a rain-affected thriller in St Vincent, confining the 2021 champions to a shock exit from the tournament.

The damage done by a 24-run defeat to India earlier in the day proved irreparable, despite several scenarios that would have still seen Mitch Marsh’s team through to the semi-finals with fate taken out of their own hands.

In the end, Afghanistan’s modest total of 115-5 was just enough as Bangladesh were bowled out for 105 after 17.5 overs with nine runs (on the Duckworth Lewis system) needed from seven remaining balls in a heart-stopping finish to the Super Eight stage of the tournament.

Australia had been solely reliant on Bangladesh – hitherto winless in the Super Eights – upsetting Afghanistan, but outside 12.1 overs, so as not to leapfrog them into second place in Group B on net run rate. “C’mon Bangladesh,” captain Marsh quipped after Australia’s earlier loss.

Though unlikely to knock off the runs so quick, the Tigers appeared set to derail Afghan hopes as opener Litton Das (54 not out) guided them to the brink of victory, chasing a revised target of 114 that would have seen Australia qualify instead of Afghanistan.

But two wickets to Naveen-ul-Haq Murid in the 17th over settled the contest and dashed Australia’s hopes of securing a second world T20 title.

The last few overs were played out amid high drama, as DLS calculations constantly changed with every run made and wicket taken, in case of more rain falling.

Man of the match Naveen-ul-Haq (4-26) was, along with spinner Rashid Khan (4-23), the pick of the Afghan bowlers, after Rahmanullah Gurbaz (43) had top-scored with the bat.

“It’s something of a dream for us as a team,” Khan said. “It’s all about the way we have started the tournament, the belief came when we beat New Zealand. It’s unbelievable, I don’t have the words to describe my feelings.”

The result sees Afghanistan, who beat Australia with a rousing performance earlier this week to put them on the brink of progression, move into the final four for the first time in their short Twenty20 internationals history.

They will play South Africa for a place in the final, while England and India meet in the other semi-final.

“I’m sure it’s going to be a massive celebration back home,” Khan said. “It’s a massive achievement for us. The country will be very proud [of us]. Being in the semi is big for us but now we have to go in with a very clear mind.”

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