AFG Vs AUS, T20 World Cup Super 8s: Afghanistan Create History With 21-Run Upset Of Mighty Australia

Chasing a target of 149 runs, Australia were all out for 127 runs. This is Afghanistan's first-ever win over the Aussies in international cricket, and keeps Afghan hopes alive to qualify for the semi-finals at ICC T20 World Cup 2024

AP/Ramon Espinosa
Afghanistan celebrate their victory over Australia in their ICC T20 World Cup 2024, Super Eights match in St Vincent. Photo: AP/Ramon Espinosa

Revenge is a dish best served cold, they say. But for a charged-up Afghanistan, it was the fire in their veins that helped exorcise the ghosts of their 2023 ODI World Cup loss to Australia. Rashid Khan's men played out of their skins to defeat the mighty Aussies for the first time in their cricketing journey, pulling off a 21-run win in their Super Eights clash at ICC T20 World Cup 2024 in Kingstown, St Vincent on Sunday, June 23. (Highlights | Scorecard | Full Coverage)

Chasing a target of 149 runs, Australia were all out for 127 runs in 19.2 overs. The stunning result keeps Afghan hopes alive to qualify for the semi-finals, and makes Australia's upcoming encounter with India a must-win one. Mathematically, all four teams in Group 1 are still in contention to enter the last-four knockout round.

It was the opening duo of Rahmanullah Gurbaz (60 runs off 49 balls) and Ibrahim Zadran (51 off 48) that set it up for the Afghans with an outstanding 118-run stand. It was the longest duration that Australia have ever had to wait for a wicket to fall in T20 internationals, and the frustration showed in uncharacteristic fielding errors from the otherwise world-class Australians.

They did claw their way back later with a flurry of wickets, but some timely blows from Mohammad Nabi (10 not out off four balls) and Karim Janat (13 off nine) took Afghanistan to 148 runs for the loss of six wickets.

And then it was the brilliance of Gulbadin Naib that took them past the finish line. The 33-year-old picked up four wickets (career-best T20I figures of 4-20 in four overs) and pulled off a fabulous catch to boot, spelling doom to Aussie hopes.

Glenn Maxwell again threatened to take the game away from Afghanistan like the last time the two teams met. But unlike that outing, where Maxwell had scripted a miraculous unbeaten double hundred, the Afghans had the last laugh this time. A blinder of a catch by Noor Ahmad cut short Maxwell's sterling knock (59 runs off 41 balls), and was the definite turning point in the match.

Batting at 106 for five in the 15th over, Australia capitulated to 127 all out post Maxwell's dismissal. And that sparked off infectious celebrations in the Afghan camp, which finally had sweet revenge for that painful loss a few months ago.

Earlier, going where no international cricketer has gone before, Australia seamer Pat Cummins picked up his second hat-trick in as many matches to jolt the Afghanistan batting in the death overs. Cummins became the only bowler to have bagged two hat-tricks in T20 World Cups, and the first to have claimed them in back-to-back T20I games.

Like he did in Australia's previous match (against Bangladesh), Pat Cummins achieved the feat across two overs. And like the last time, he completed the hat-trick in the 20th and final over of the opposition's innings. Cummins sent back Rashid Khan off the last ball of the 18th over, and then returned for the 20th to dismiss Karim Janat and Gulbadin Naib.

Cummins nearly had four wickets off four balls, but David Warner spilled a catch in the deep off the third ball of the over. Cummins' late surge helped restrict Afghanistan to a total of 148 runs. But as it turned out, that total was more than adequate for Afghanistan to shell-shock Marsh's men.

Playing XIs

Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Ibrahim Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat (In for Hazratullah Zazai), Nangeyalia Kharote (In for Najibullah Zadran), Rashid Khan (C), Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi.

Australia: Travis Head, David Warner, Mitchell Marsh (C), Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David, Matthew Wade (WK), Pat Cummins, Ashton Agar (In for Mitchell Starc), Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.

Afghanistan will next face Bangladesh in Kingstown on June 25, while Australia will meet arch-rivals India in St Lucia on June 24. If Afghanistan defeat Bangladesh and India vanquish the Aussies, Rashid and Co would advance to their first-ever World Cup semi-finals across formats.