T20 World Cup: Afghanistan shock Australia by 21 runs in Super 8s match

Australia now staring at early elimination from the World Cup

T20 World Cup (File) Afghanistan players celebrate after defeating Australia by 21 runs in their men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Arnos Vale Ground, Kingstown | AP

Afghanistan pulled off an upset of epic proportions with a shock 21-run win over mighty Australia in the T20 World Cup with Gulbadin Naib's four-wicket haul upending Pat Cummins' hat-trick to produce one of the most memorable days in Afghan cricket.

Using the slower balls smartly on a difficult batting wicket, Afghanistan defended their total of 148 for six for their first-ever win over Australia in international cricket.

Australia were all out for 127 in 19.2 overs in the Super Eight contest and they are now staring at early elimination from the World Cup. Australia now must win their match against India on Monday and also hope that Afghanistan lose to Bangladesh in their next match.

Afghanistan openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz (60) and Ibrahim Zadran (51) forged a 118-run partnership setting up base for a challenging total but Pat Cummins registered his second successive hat-trick spread across two overs to restrict Afghanistan to a manageable total.

Australia were reduced to 32 for 3 in the powerplay but Glenn Maxwell slammed a 41-ball 59 to somewhat resurrect the chase. However, Naib's timely strikes proved crucial in toppling the 2021 champions.

Afghanistan exacted revenge for their defeat in Mumbai during the ODI World Cup. Maxwell had snatched victory from Aghans at that time and on Saturday too he threatened to deny them but Naib's brilliance ensured them the win. Afghanistan players jumped in joy and were joined by their support staff members to celebrate the win.

The result has opened up Group 1 as both Australia and Afghanistan now have one win each with one match to go, while India sits atop the table with two wins from as many games.

Defending 149 on a spin-friendly wicket, Afghanistan had the perfect start as Naveen-ul-Haq picked up two early wickets with the new ball to peg Australia back. First Naveen cleaned up Travis Head for a duck with a fuller delivery and then he deceived the skipper Mitch Marsh with a slower delivery as he holed out to Nabi.

Maxwell eased the pressure with two fours off Azmatullah but Nabi removed David Warner (3), who went for a slog sweep only to find Noor Ahmad as Australia scored the lowest powerplay score of 33 for 3 this World Cup.

Maxwell, who had tormented Afghanistan during the ODI World Cup last year, continued to find the boundaries as he clattered spinner Nangeyalia Kharote for a four and a six.

Naib then struck twice to give Afghanistan hope as he surprised Marcus Stoinis with a bouncer. The batter top-edged it to find Gurbaz. He next trapped Tim David as Australia slipped to 85 for 5 in the 13th over.

Maxwell slammed a six off Rashid Khan and Naib in 12th and 13th overs to keep Australia's chase on track. Naib returned to pick his most prized cap, dismissing the dangerous Maxwell in the 15th over and then Rashid removed Matthew Wade as their chase fell apart.

Naib next knocked off the stumps of Cummins, while Naveen claimed his third victim by removing Ashton Agar. Azmatullah ended the proceedings by dismissing Josh Hazlewood.

Earlier, Gurbaz and Ibrahim notched up their third century stand of this T20 World Cup with a 118-run partnership. The duo capitalised on their chances as Australia had to wait till the 16th over for their first breakthrough.

Gurbaz slammed four maximums and as many fours in his 49-ball stay, while Zadran hit six boundaries during his 48-ball knock. Stoinis got rid of Gurbaz with an off-cutter, while in the next over, Adam Zampa cleaned up Azmatullah Omarzai with a slider.

Looking for big hits, Afghanistan lost wickets thereafter with Cummins dismissing Rashid Khan, Karim Janat and Gulbadin Naib to become the first player to pick up two hat-tricks in T20 World Cups.

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