Afghanistan Edge Past Bangladesh to Qualify for Semi-Final as Australia Crash Out

KINGSTOWN: Rashid Khan and Naveen-ul-Haq picked four wickets each to steer Afghanistan to a narrow win over Bangladesh and qualify for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 semi-finals here at Arnos Vale Ground on Monday.

Defending a modest 115-run total in a rain-hit clash, Afghanistan bundled Bangladesh for 105 in 17.5 overs, despite Litton Das’ unbeaten half-century.

Bangladesh needed to chase the target in 12.1 overs to secure a spot in the semi-finals. Otherwise, Australia would have qualified if Bangladesh failed to chase within the specified overs.

Das gave Bangladesh a good start as he struck 13 runs off Naveen-ul-Haq in the first over, however, the bowler made a brilliant comeback in the next over, picking two wickets in two balls.

Fazalhaq Farooqi dismissed Tanzid Hasan (0) in the second over before Naveen-ul-Haq removed Bangladesh captain Najmul Hossain Shanto (5) and Shakib Al Hasan on consecutive deliveries.

With Bangladesh reeling at 31-3 in 3.2 overs, rain halted the play for 20 minutes.

After the rain break, Das and Soumya Sarkar (10) attempted to force Bangladesh’s comeback with a 25-run partnership but Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan rained on their parade as he got rid of Sarkar.

Towhid Hridoy struck 14 off 9 with two boundaries off Mohammad Nabi before he also fell prey to Rashid Khan.

Das waged a lone battle as no Bangladesh batter could pose much threat to Afghanistan.

Rashid Khan removed Mahmdullah (6) and Rishad Hossain (0) before a brief rain interruption, resulting in the target being reduced to 114 in 19 overs according to the Duckworth Lewis Stern method (DLS).

Das completed his half-century in 41 balls with a four off Noor Ahmed, however, wickets kept tumbling from the other end. Ultimately, Bangladesh bundled for 105 with Naveen-ul-Haq getting the last wickets on back-to-back deliveries.

Naveen-ul-Haq and Rashid Khan returned with bowling figures of 4-26 and 4-23 respectively. Meanwhile, Farooqi and Naib bagged one wicket each.

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Afghanistan opted to bat first but could not get the desired start against Bangladesh’s economical bowling.

The opening pair of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran remained silent in the first 10 overs as they managed to score 58 runs with two fours and one six only.

However, the building pressure prompted Zadran to go for a big shot against Rishad Hossain only to be caught by Tanzim Hasan Sakib.

The right-handed batter scored a scratchy 18 off 29 with one boundary.

With no boundaries after the 7th over, Gurbaz finally hit two fours against Hossain in the 14th to break free, but he fell to the same bowler on the first ball of his next over.

Gurbaz top-scored with a cautious 43-run knock from 55 balls with three boundaries and one six. Gulbadin Naib also fell in the same over courtesy of a brilliant catch by Soumya Sarkar.

Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan then played a 10-ball cameo to score 19 runs with the help of three sixes, including two in the last over to help his team finish at 115-5 in 20 overs.

Hossain returned with bowling figures of 3-26, while Mustafizur Rahman and Taskin Ahmed managed one wicket each.

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