Afghanistan edged Bangladesh to reach the Twenty20 World Cup semifinals for the first time and followed India into the last four following a combination of results that eliminated 2021 champion Australia on Monday.

Afghanistan advanced when it beat Bangladesh by eight runs with seven balls remaining in a thrilling, rain-affected match at Kingstown, St. Vincent, to conclude the Super Eight stage.

At times in the match the fate of the Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Australia teams all hung in the balance, with all three in semifinals contention depending on the result.

Afghanistan qualify for T20 world cup 2024 semifinal
Photo: Afghanistan qualify for T20 world cup 2024 semifinal

But it was finally Afghanistan that went through to a semifinal Wednesday against South Africa. Unbeaten India will play defending champion England on Thursday.

Afghanistan batted first and made what seemed an inadequate 115-5 in a match it had to win to reach the semifinals for the first time.

Then in a dramatic second innings with rain hovering and three nations gripped by the action, Bangladesh fell short in a hectic effort to surpass Afghanistan’s total in 12.1 overs — which would have sent it into the semifinals.

Afghanistan’s victory was finally sealed when the last Bangladesh wicket fell with the total 105 at 1:10 a.m. local time. Few dared leave the ground as they were gripped until the end by the action and the kaleidoscope of changing fortunes.

Rain interrupted the match on four occasions, adding more drama and bringing revised targets into play.

In an breath-taking finish to the Super Eight stage, there were four main scenarios. If Afghanistan won it would go through. If it rained and the match ended without a result, Afghanistan also would progress.

A Bangladesh win would end Afghanistan’s campaign and send Australia through. But if Bangladesh won within 12.1 overs it would go through on net run-rate and both Afghanistan and Australia would go home.

When Afghanistan made only 115 after choosing to bat, all of those scenario’s remained in play. Rain eventually reduced the chase to 114 from 19 overs.

Naveen-ul-Haq dismissed Taskin Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman with the last two balls of the 18th over to clinch the match and finish with 4-26. Litton Das carried his bat and finished 54 not out for Bangladesh.

“We have worked so hard over the past few years and we were dreaming and we were waiting for this day,” Naveen said. “When that day comes and it happens, it’s a surreal experience.”

As he spoke, the Afghanistan players carried their captain Rashid Khan around the field as rain fell.

“It’s a massive celebration back home. In this World Cup, I think the country will be very proud,” Rashid said in a later TV interview. “I’m so happy the way we’ve delivered as a team.”

Source: AP News

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