T20 World Cup 2024: Australia v Afghanistan – live – The Guardian

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12th over: Afghanistan 83-0 (Gurbaz 41, Ibrahim 36) DROPPED! It was a tough chance but one that Australia really needed to be grasped. Stoinis comes on for his first over and has a C&B chance as Ibrahim pops the ball back before the pacer is through his action and he can only throw an arm out. Among all the chaos, Afghanistan give Australia another half-chance of a run out but manage to pick up two. The over started with a powerful pull shot from Gurbaz that raced away for four.

11th over: Afghanistan 74-0 (Gurbaz 36, Ibrahim 32) The Afghanistan openers have Australia on the ropes and are pressing home their advantage with some electric running between wickets. Ibrahim smacks a boundary with a cut after giving himself plenty of room. Australia then have back-to-back run out chances but can’t quite make the most of either. The first comes as Gurbaz scampers back to the bowler’s end and dives to make it two, then Afghanistan almost repeat the play as Maxwell throws to the keeper but Ibrahim sneaks home.

10th over: Afghanistan 64-0 (Gurbaz 36, Ibrahim 22) Gurbaz ensures that Afghanistan finish the first period of play in style with perhaps the shot of the day so far. It was an exquisite slog sweep, if you can ever have such a thing, that was perfectly-placed between two Australian players on the rope. That will be drinks, the Afghanistan openers are still at the crease and we have an absolute cracker on our hands.

9th over: Afghanistan 56-0 (Gurbaz 29, Ibrahim 21) Zampa delivers one of the better overs for Australia but still concedes a handful of runs. It might have been a touch worse if not for some brilliant fielding in the deep from Pat Cummins after Gurbaz put a sweep away but a diving effort saved two runs.

8th over: Afghanistan 52-0 (Gurbaz 26, Ibrahim 20) Afghanistan’s nemesis Glenn Maxwell comes into the attack and finds some inconsistent bounce. The opening pair are looking comfortable now, finding runs without taking too much risk.

7th over: Afghanistan 48-0 (Gurbaz 25, Ibrahim 18) Australia turn to their chief strike bowler Adam Zampa with Afghanistan getting away from them. Gurbaz dispatches a loosener after dancing down the pitch but the openers are more cautious from there while nudging around for singles.

6th over: Afghanistan 40-0 (Gurbaz 19, Ibrahim 16) Afghanistan are on top here at the end of the powerplay, with Australia showing signs of unravelling in the field just as they did against Scotland. Agar fumbles a ball over the boundary for four at deep square leg, then Zampa almost turns the tables off the next delivery with a desperate dive on the rope that might have produced the catch of the tournament, but it instead bounces out of his hands for another four.

5th over: Afghanistan 29-0 (Gurbaz 17, Ibrahim 7) It’s feast or famine for the Afghanistan openers as Josh Hazleood switches ends. The Australia quick is getting movement off the seam but Gurbaz is undeterred, clobbering another six this time over long-on. Ibrahim then adds his first boundary of the innings with a simple flick off the pads.

4th over: Afghanistan 17-0 (Gurbaz 10, Ibrahim 2) SIX! Gurbaz finally opens up after scoring only four runs from the first 15 balls faced. Pat Cummins is into the attack and the Afghanistan opener plays with a watchful eye until unleashing at the last ball of the over to send it straight back over the pacer’s head.

3rd over: Afghanistan 11-0 (Gurbaz 4, Ibrahim 2) The conditions seem to be playing their part but Agar is also bowling well enough to justify his selection over Mitchell Starc on a sticky deck. Ibrahim picks up a couple through cover.

2nd over: Afghanistan 9-0 (Gurbaz 4, Ibrahim 0) Gurbaz finds the first runs off the bat but it takes an inside edge to make it happen. Josh Hazlewood bowls out five dot balls from there, and it hasn’t been the most convincing start from Afghanistan but they have still pushed out to nine runs.

1st over: Afghanistan 5-0 (Gurbaz 0, Ibrahim 0) A tidy start from Agar but Afghanistan pick up four with a ball that beats everyone and races to the boundary.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran are at the crease as Australia double down on their bowling change with finger-spinner Ashton Agar taking the new ball. Game on!

Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Nangeyalia Kharote, Rashid Khan (capt), Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi.

Hazratullah Zazai and Najibullah Zadran drop out of the XI that lost to India, Karim Janat and Nangeyalia Kharote get their shot.

David Warner, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh (capt), Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.

Agar comes into the XI for Mitchell Starc as Australia turn to spin.

Mitch Marsh guesses the coin flip correctly and Australia will bowl first at Arnos Vale Ground in Saint Vincent.

Form guide

Australia and Afghanistan have only previously faced one another in a single T20I, though that at least was a memorable encounter during the 2022 T20 World Cup.

Glenn Maxwell (54 not out from 32) and Mitch Marsh (45 from 30 balls) did the damage with the bat as Australia reached 168-8, then had Afghanistan on the ropes at 103-6 in the chase in Adelaide. That was until a late cameo from Rashid Khan (48 not out from 23) almost snatched a shock victory that would also have ended the hosts’ title defence.

Australia hung on to win by four runs but were knocked out the next day anyway, when England drew level on three wins but with a superior net run-rate to claim a semi-final spot on their way to the T20 World Cup crown.

It was admittedly in a different format but was still an all-time classic when the two sides faced off at last year’s 50-over World Cup. Australia were 91-7 chasing 292 when Maxwell (201 not out from 128) plundered the most outrageous unbeaten double-century to break Afghanistan hearts – ICYMI see more in the video below.

Maxwell has not had nearly the same sort of impact at this tournament, as Australia’s opening pair David Warner and Travis Head have dominated from the top of the order with Marcus Stoinis so far the most likely to add runs later on.

Afghanistan have also relied on fast starts from their top-order, with Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran both notching two half-centuries from five innings so far. Where the runs will come from if one or both of those 22-year-olds fall cheaply must be a concern against Australia’s three-pronged pace attack and white-ball wizard Adam Zampa.

The leg-spinner is yet again among the leading wicket-takers at an ICC event, this time with 11 scalps from five innings. Pat Cummins might have stolen the plaudits with his hat-trick against Bangladesh, but it was Zampa that picked up wickets at crucial times to ensure Australia made it a perfect five-wins-from-five at this T20 World Cup.

Afghanistan’s own spin magician Rashid is also within reach of the top of the wicket-taking table with nine victims so far, while their left-arm quick Fazalhaq Farooqi is out in front with 15.

Farooqi might have bolstered his tally against Uganda (5-9) and PNG (3-16), but showed he can also trouble the Test-playing nations when facing New Zealand (4-17) and India (3-33).

The toss and team news is coming shortly – but now is an ideal time to email your thoughts or get in touch on X @martinpegan, or just to remember Maxwell’s most incredible of knocks:

Hello and welcome to the OBO live coverage of Australia and Afghanistan at the 2024 T20 World Cup with the Super Eight stage well and truly heating up.

Australia already have one win in the Super Eight stage that came after a flawless group stage and – following India’s emphatic victory over Bangladesh – they could now book their place in the semi-finals today. Mitch Marsh’s side only need to beat Afghanistan to progress to the knockout stage even before a heavyweight showdown with India in their third and final Super Eight match on Monday (that will start 00:30 Tuesday in AEST).

The contrast is stark for Afghanistan as Rashid Khan’s outfit lost their Super Eight opener to India so now must first beat Australia just to keep their hopes alive, then do much the same – and ideally with a healthy net run-rate boost – against Bangladesh when they also meet on Monday.

Australia’s explosive batting lineup looms large over the pointy end of the tournament, let alone just this encounter, while Afghanistan will be out to trouble them with spin.

Play starts at Arnos Vale Ground in St Vincent at 8:30pm, which is also 10:30am AEST and 1:30am BST.

Meanwhile, the equations are much more complex on the other side of the draw, with South Africa, England and West Indies all still chasing a top-two finish in group 2. Ali Martin has looked into how that could play out:

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