AFG Vs BAN, T20 World Cup: Rashid Khan's Take On Gulbadin Naib's 'Injury' Post Historic Win

Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan singled out cricket legend Brian Lara's "belief" as the inspiring force behind his team's incredible campaign at ICC T20 World Cup 2024 so far. The Afghan win over Bangladesh has knocked Australia out of semi-finals reckoning

Rashid Khan and Gulbadin Naib celebrate Afghanistan win over Bangladesh and semifinal entry, ICC T20 World Cup 2024, AP photo
Rashid Khan (left) and Gulbadin Naib celebrate Afghanistan's win over Bangladesh and their semi-final berth at ICC T20 World Cup 2024, in Saint Vincent on Tuesday (June 25). Photo: AP/Ricardo Mazalan

While the euphoria of Afghanistan's unprecedented semi-final berth at ICC T20 World Cup 2024 pervades the cricketing fraternity, there is simultaneous chatter around Gulbadin Naib's controversial tumble during the Bangladesh innings. While some found it ridiculously funny, others criticized the act as 'unsportsmanlike' and a questionable delaying tactic. (Highlights | Match Report | Scorecard)

Captain Rashid Khan, who himself appeared to disapprove of the tactic in the moment, later downplayed the incident, saying it was "cramps". Asked by presenter and former New Zealand cricketer Simon Doull about what happened with Naib, Rashid said at the post-match presentation: "Gulbadin, he had some cramps. But his wicket was invaluable to us."

Rashid added: "Rain is something not in our hands but mentally we knew we have to play 20 overs and take 10 wickets. That's the only way we could win."

The charismatic Afghan all-rounder singled out the legendary Brian Lara as the inspiring force behind his team's incredible campaign so far. Rashid said, "The only guy who put us in the semi-finals was Brian Lara and we proved him right. When we met him at a welcome party, I told him we won't let you down.

"It's a dream for us to be in the semi-finals. The way we started the tournament, the belief came when we beat New Zealand. It's unbelievable."

Rashid underlined how much the achievement meant to the team as well as their country. "It's a massive celebration back home. It's a big achievement for us as well. We have done that at U-19 level but at this World Cup, I don't have any words to describe the feeling back home. We have to go into the semis with a very clear mind and make sure we enjoy the occasion."

Afghanistan's eight-run win has knocked the mighty Australia out of the T20 World Cup. Rashid's men had notched up their maiden international victory over the Aussies last week, and with the result today, their revenge for the painful 2023 ODI World Cup loss at the hands of Pat Cummins' team appears complete.

Afghanistan will now take on the unbeaten South Africa in the first semi-final, in Tarouba on June 27 (6am IST). The second semi-final will feature India - who too are undefeated thus far - against defending champions England, on June 27 (8pm IST) in Providence.