In a nail-biting encounter at the T20 World Cup 2024, Afghanistan clinched a historic win over Bangladesh by 8 runs to secure their first-ever semifinal qualification. The match, held at the Darren Sammy International Cricket Stadium in St Lucia, saw Afghanistan’s bowlers, led by the sensational Rashid Khan, deliver a masterclass under pressure.

Afghanistan’s innings got off to a rocky start. Opting to bat first, they managed a modest total of 115/5 in 20 overs. The powerplay was far from explosive, with Afghan openers struggling to find their rhythm and only putting up 27/0 in 6 overs. Rahmanullah Gurbaz provided some stability with his knock of 43 runs off 55 balls, but it was captain Rashid Khan’s late cameo that gave the team a fighting chance. His six on the final delivery was a crucial addition to the total.

Bangladesh’s chase began under overcast conditions. Fazalhaq Farooqi drew first blood by dismissing Tanzid Hasan early. The weather played a significant role, with rain stopping play twice. The first interruption came after just 3.2 overs with Bangladesh at 31/3. Upon resumption, the revised DLS target was set at 114 in 16 overs.

Naveen-ul-Haq’s double strike further dented Bangladesh’s hopes, removing key players Najmul Shanto and Shakib Al Hasan in quick succession. Litton Das stood firm, scoring an unbeaten 54, but lacked support from the other end. As the second rain break loomed, Rashid Khan returned to the attack, picking up four crucial wickets to dismantle Bangladesh’s lower order.

Rashid Khan’s Captaincy and Performance: Winning the toss and choosing to bat, Rashid Khan’s decision paid off as his all-round performance turned the tide. His 4-wicket haul after the second rain break was instrumental in sealing the win.

Naveen-ul-Haq’s Double Strike: Naveen’s back-to-back dismissals of Shanto and Shakib shifted momentum in Afghanistan’s favor, putting Bangladesh on the back foot.

Litton Das’s Lone Fight: Despite his valiant half-century, Litton Das couldn’t steer Bangladesh past the finish line, highlighting the team’s dependency on individual brilliance rather than a collective effort.

Afghanistan posted 115/5 in their 20 overs, thanks to Rashid Khan’s crucial six off the final ball.
Rain interruptions played a significant role, with the DLS method revising Bangladesh’s target to 114 in 16 overs.
Rashid Khan’s 4-wicket haul after the second rain break was pivotal in restricting Bangladesh.
Naveen-ul-Haq’s two wickets in consecutive deliveries were game-changers.
Litton Das remained unbeaten on 54, showcasing his class but lacked the necessary support from other batsmen.

Afghanistan’s historic win over Bangladesh was a testament to their growth and resilience in international cricket. The game had everything—rain interruptions, nail-biting moments, and stellar individual performances. Rashid Khan’s leadership and exceptional bowling were key to their success. As Afghanistan moves forward to face South Africa in the semifinals, they carry the hopes of a nation and the confidence of having overcome significant challenges. Bangladesh, despite showing flashes of brilliance, will have to regroup and address their inconsistencies as they bow out of the tournament. This match will be remembered as a defining moment for Afghanistan cricket, marking their arrival on the big stage.

By Robin

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