Glenn Maxwell produced an unbeaten half-century to keep Australia in the running for the Twenty20 World Cup semifinals with a nail-biting four-run victory against Afghanistan on Friday. The result ensured that New Zealand, which overcame Ireland in the day’s opening match in Adelaide, would claim a spot in the tournament’s final four from Group 1. The hosts and defending champions Australia now need England to lose their final Super 12 match against Sri Lanka on Saturday in order to proceed to the semifinals.
Maxwell helped Australia reach a respectable total
Maxwell’s 32-ball 54 at the Adelaide Oval assisted Australia in reaching 168-8. A total that their bowlers successfully defended by limiting the Afghans to 164-7. With an unbeaten 48 off 23 balls, Rashid Khan easily defeated the chase. He then scored 16 runs in Marcus Stoinis’ penultimate over to keep the home crowd on the edge of their seats practically till the very end.
Prior to being given the opportunity to bat first, Australia had hamstring injuries to captain Aaron Finch, vice-captain Tim David, and speed bowler Mitchell Starc. Australia’s top order was destroyed when David Warner was out for 28 runs and Steve Smith, who was making his comeback, was out for four runs by Naveenul Haq. He returned the amazing figures 3-21.
The left-handed Warner came out strong and smacked spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman for three consecutive boundaries in the second over of the match. In the following over. He lost fellow opener Cameron Green to Fazalhaq Farooqi. Who claimed two wickets but continued the attack with Mitchell Marsh, who smacked 45 off 30 balls.
Warner was struck by Naveen’s fastball, and four balls later, Smith was given out cheaply. Marsh made an effort to counter with six and two fours against Gulbadin Naib. But he was unable to capitalize on them and was left behind by Mujeeb’s mysterious spin.
Before Rashid Khan got a breakthrough, Maxwell, and Stoinis, had just hit Australia’s fastest T20 50 in the victory against Sri Lanka (17 balls). They began to score runs off the Afghan spinners. As Afghanistan made progress, Stoinis blasted Rashid for a six over midwicket but left after only 25 deliveries.
Afghanistan started the chase impressively
Rahmanullah Gurbaz overpowered the Australian bowlers to start the response. He got two four- and six-run hits off Josh Hazlewood in the opening over of the chase. Hazlewood dismissed Usman Ghani for two runs. While Gurbaz was dismissed by Kane Richardson in the third over.
Afghanistan reached 72-2 in 10 overs and threatened an upset when Gulbadin Naib, scored 39 off 23 balls. And smacked a six off Green, attempted to restart the chase. Naib put together a risky 58-run stand with Ibrahim Zadran, who scored 26 runs. But a direct throw from Maxwell in the deep took out the dangerman at the non-run striker’s end.
The chase was practically finished when Adam Zampa dismissed Ibrahim for 26 and Najibullah Zadran in the next three balls. With three fours and four sixes, Rashid, who came in ninth, fought all the way to the finish. Afghanistan left the tournament with two defeats and no wins.
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