Afghanistan Upsets Australia in T20 World Cup, Clinches First-Ever Win

In a sensational upset, Afghanistan defeated Australia for the first time ever in a T20 World Cup match, derailing the Aussies’ unbeaten run in the tournament. This thrilling victory keeps Afghanistan’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages alive, while Australia now faces a crucial clash against India.

Afghan Openers Lay Solid Foundation

Opting to field first, Australia’s decision backfired spectacularly as the Afghan openers, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran, displayed exceptional patience and precision. They navigated the Powerplay cautiously, accumulating boundaries strategically while avoiding any wicket losses.  By the halfway mark, Afghanistan cruised at a comfortable 64/0, defying expectations on a pitch anticipated to favour spinners.

Despite the early dominance, Australia managed a breakthrough in the 16th over with Marcus Stoinis dismissing Gurbaz (60). This sparked a brief period of hope, with Adam Zampa claiming two quick wickets, including the crucial scalp of Zadran (51). However, the momentum shifted once again with Pat Cummins’ hat-trick, his second in as many matches, leaving Afghanistan at 126/4.

Afghanistan Spinners Choke Australia’s Chase

Despite leaking runs in the field, Afghanistan’s bowlers displayed exceptional control during Australia’s chase. Fresh off his impressive bowling display against Bangladesh, Naveen-ul-Haq removed both openers, Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh, within his first two overs. This early pressure forced Australia onto the back foot, with Glenn Maxwell emerging as the lone bright spark.

Maxwell’s aggressive batting kept Australia in the hunt, reaching a well-deserved fifty off just 35 balls. However, Afghanistan’s spin attack proved too much to handle. The dismissal of Maxwell by Gulbadin Naib proved to be the turning point, as wickets fell consistently thereafter. Eventually, Australia were bowled out for 127 runs, falling short of the target by 21 runs.

Historic Win for Afghanistan

This victory marks a significant milestone for Afghan cricket. Not only is it their first win over Australia in a T20 World Cup, but Gulbadin Naib also etched his name in history by becoming the first player to take four wickets in both T20 and ODI World Cup matches against Australia.  

With this win, Afghanistan maintains control of their destiny, needing a victory against Bangladesh to potentially reach the knockout stages. Australia, on the other hand, faces a must-win encounter against India to keep their qualification hopes alive.

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