The performance of England and Sri Lanka on Saturday will determine whether or not Australia advances to the semifinals of the T20 World Cup. Hence, acting skipper Matthew Wade hoped that Australia’s sluggish start wouldn’t come back to bother them. With a close four-run victory against Afghanistan in their last Super 12 game on Friday, Australia maintained their limited chances of moving on to the knockout stage alive. It moved to second place in the points standings, behind New Zealand.
On Saturday, third-placed England will play Sri Lanka; a victory would guarantee a semifinal berth. If Sri Lanka defeats England, Australia will advance to the semifinals.
We want to remain put tonight to watch the game tomorrow and are hoping for a surprise. Wade stated during the post-game presentation on Friday, “We put ourselves in this situation from the beginning. We have been slow in this tournament; hopefully, it doesn’t cost us.
Rashid Khan’s spectacular 23-ball 48 raised the possibility of an upset, giving Australia a serious fright.
Rashid was able to smash Marcus Stoinis for two fours and a six in the last over, but it was not enough, as he needed 22.
“We handed Stoinis the final over; it’s quite nerve-wracking to have an all-rounder bowl the final over. I played him in IPL and have seen him do it 3-4 times. But never felt entirely sure at any point,” Wade said.
Afghanistan went from 99 for 2 to 99 for 5 in 13.4 overs while chasing 169 to win.
Mohammad Nabi, the captain of Afghanistan, attributed the failure to the fall of crucial wickets in the middle overs.
“They got off to a strong start in the cricket match, and Farooqi bowled effectively in the latter stages. The way we batted in the powerplay in the middle, but under pressure, we lost those four wickets, “said he.
“It’s quite challenging to play a game and then wait ten days to play again. Throughout this competition, we gained absolutely no momentum. We become better every day, and today’s game was great for us.” Because of his 32-ball innings, Glenn Maxwell, named Player of the Match, admitted that Rashid’s clean hitting gave his side a scare.
“Afghanistan performed quite well and made very accurate strikes with the ball. They first applied pressure on us in the powerplay. We could fend them off, but at the finish, some fairly clean hitting gave us a little pause.
“It was pleasant to make a difference in the field. I was aware that, given the circumstances, I wouldn’t be able to make much of an effect with the ball. It’s good to make a difference.” Maxwell praised the Afghan spinners for maintaining the tension.
“Taking spin, it was holding up a little over the day, but it was rather sluggish. It was challenging to press the matter. When we reached the 12th over, we had to post a total to ensure we gave ourselves a chance to win the match.
“They bowled exceptionally effectively in the last four overs, even though we were attempting to bowl aggressively. It was difficult to elude them as they carried out their intentions.