Adelaide: Despite defeating Afghanistan in the Twenty20 World Cup, Australia’s semi-final chances are uncertain. If England beat Sri Lanka in tomorrow’s game, the way out of Australia will open. The hosts will only have a chance of semi-finals if England lose by a considerable margin.
Aussies beat Afghanistan by four runs in a thrilling match till the end. After setting a target of 169 runs, Afghanistan scored 164 runs for the loss of seven wickets. As 22 runs were needed to win in the last over, the visitors managed to score only 17 runs. At one point it looked like Afghanistan would cruise to an easy victory but they were crushed beyond belief by the Australian bowlers. Afghanistan collapsed from 98 for two in 13 overs to 103 for six in 14.3 overs. Then Rashid Khan’s struggle gave hope. Rashid scored an unbeaten 48 off 23 balls with four sixes and three fours. For Afghanistan, Gulbadan Naib scored 39 off 23 balls and opener Rahmatullah Gurbaz scored 30 off 17 balls. Ibrahim Sadran scored 26 runs. Josh Hazelwood and Adam Samba took two wickets each for Australia while Kane Richardson took one wicket.
Australia, who needed a win to reach the semi-finals, scored 168 runs for the loss of eight wickets. Only Eglan Maxwell, who scored an unbeaten 54 off 32 balls, and Mitchell Marsh, who scored 45 off 30 balls, were able to shine. David Warner and Marcus Stoinis scored 25 runs each. For Afghanistan, Naveenul Haq took three wickets conceding just 21 runs in four overs, while Fazal Haq Farooqui, Mujeebu Rahman and Rashid Khan took two wickets each.
Meanwhile, New Zealand became the first team to secure the semi-finals by winning the crucial match against Ireland by 35 runs. Australia’s low run rate paved the way for the Kiwis to reach the semi-finals. New Zealand have seven points at a net run rate of +2.113 after completing all five matches in the group stage. Australia’s chances were reduced by the low run rate of seven points for Australia. Currently their run rate is -0.173. After four games, England have five points at a run rate of +0.547. If England win the next match, the hosts Australia will be eliminated. With Australia’s win today, Sri Lanka is also out of the World Cup.