Historic win: Afghanistan reaches T20 World Cup semi-finals

In one of the most thrilling contests of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, Afghanistan edged out Bangladesh to secure their spot in the semifinals, simultaneously ending Australia’s campaign. Joining India, England, and South Africa, Afghanistan now stands among the tournament’s final four contenders.

The match was a rollercoaster of emotions, with both teams vying for victory to advance. Bangladesh, needing a strong win, saw their hopes dashed as Afghanistan’s resilience prevailed.

“Afghan Atalan have successfully defended their total and have won the game by 8 runs (DLS) to make it to the Semi-Finals of the T20 World Cup for the 1st time in their history,” the Afghanistan Cricket Board said on X.

Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat, setting the stage for an intense match from the very first ball. Opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz narrowly avoided a run-out, signaling the drama to come. Bangladesh’s bowlers initially restricted Afghanistan, allowing just five runs in the first two overs. However, Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran’s cautious approach saw them through the Powerplay, finishing at 27/0.

The pair made history by becoming the first to achieve four partnerships of at least 50 runs in a T20 World Cup. Despite Bangladesh’s efforts to control the run rate, 13 extras in the first nine overs gave Afghanistan a boost. At the drinks break, Afghanistan stood at 58/0, needing to accelerate.

Zadran fell for 18 in the 12th over, and Gurbaz’s crucial 43 off 55 balls anchored the innings before he was dismissed. Rashid Khan’s late cameo, including three sixes, helped Afghanistan reach 115/5 in their 20 overs, just as rain interrupted play.

Upon resumption, Bangladesh’s chase began disastrously, losing Tanzid Hasan and their captain early. Rain delays threatened to bring the DLS method into play, adding to the tension. Bangladesh reached 46/3 after six overs, with Litton Das and Soumya Sarkar offering brief stability.

Rashid Khan’s introduction to the attack shifted momentum as he quickly dismissed Sarkar. Bangladesh needed to complete the chase in 12.1 overs to surpass Australia and advance, but Khan’s brilliance, taking 4/23, kept Afghanistan in the contest.

As Bangladesh teetered, Das and Mahmudullah steadied their innings, reaching 77/5 at drinks. Khan’s double strike in the 11th over, including Mahmudullah’s wicket, brought the match back into balance. Despite another rain delay, Bangladesh briefly moved ahead of the DLS par score before the rain subsided.

With 20 runs needed from the final four overs, Das reached a 41-ball half-century, but Bangladesh faltered under pressure. Naveen-ul-Haq’s critical wicket of Taskin Ahmed left Bangladesh needing nine runs with one wicket in hand. Mustafizur Rahman, focused on survival, was trapped LBW first ball, sealing the dramatic victory for Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s win secured their place in the semifinals, marking a historic achievement for the team. Bangladesh and Australia, however, were left in despair as their World Cup journeys came to an abrupt end.