ADELAIDE: The 26th match of the T20 World Cup between the defending champions Australia and Afghanistan saw Australia scrape through for a win by just 4 runs. The win gave Australia two valuable points but still does not confirm a berth in the semifinals. Aussie’s road to the world cup will end if England beats Sri Lanka in last Group 1 match scheduled on Saturday, Nov.5, at the SCG. If Sri Lanka wins against England, Sri Lanka will stand with 6 points in the points table, but the Aussies will qualify for the semifinal along with the Kiwis.
New Zealand has already qualified for the semi finals from Group 1. Sri Lanka, Ireland and Afghanistan are all out of contention for the semi final berth.
Australia batting first set a target of 168 runs for the loss of 8 wickets in 20 overs. Glen Maxwell hit an unbeaten 54 runs off 32 balls to take Australia to a respectable score after a collapse from 139 for 5 wickets to 159 for 8 wickets. Afghanistan’s Naveen Ul Haq bowled brilliantly to pick up 3 wickets for 21 runs. Chasing 169, Afghanistan Rashid Khan almost made it to a miraculous win with a fighting knock of 48 runs from just 23 runs but fell short off just 4 runs. Afghans were restricted to 164 for 7 wickets off 20 overs. Afghans did go past the 106-run mark which was the target ideally Aussies should have restricted Afghanistan too for Australia to qualify to the Semi Finals based on net run rate. Since it was not to be, Australia’s fate now lies on the outcome of the England Vs Sri Lanka encounter.
Afghanistan skipper Mohamed Nabi has resigned after the loss to Australia. “Will continue to play for my country when the management and team need me “said Nabi in an emotional message.
Earlier today New Zealand beat Ireland by 35 runs and was the first team to book the semifinal berth. Kiwis batting first hit 185 for 6 wickets while Ireland were restricted to 150 for 9 wickets off 20 overs. Irelands Josh Little picked up a hat trick, the second hat trick of the tournament but the effort of 3 for 22 runs was in vain as Kiwis picked up a comfortable win. (RZ) Image credit: T20worldcup official website