T20 WC 2022, Gr 1, AUS v AFG: Australia manage scratchy win; need SL to beat Eng to book SF berth
ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022, Super 12, Group 1, Australia vs Afghanistan: Glenn Maxwell's 54, Adam Zampa's 2-22 and Naveen-ul-Haq's 3-21 are top performances. Australia beat Afghanistan and move to 2nd spot in points table. England through to semis if beat Sri Lanka.
Brief Scores: Australia 168/8 (Maxwell 54*, Marsh 45, Naveen 3/21) beat Afghanistan 164/7 (Rashid 48*, Naib 39, Zampa 2/22) by 4 runs
Player of the Match: Glenn Maxwell (Unbeaten 54 runs in 32 deliveries)
Hosts and defending champions Australia who after a close victory against Ireland got a slight chance for qualification to the semi-final, locked horns on Friday with unlucky Afghanistan who have already lost out in the race for the knock out stage in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022. The 14th Group 1 game in the Super 12 stage was held at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide.
It is worth mentioning here that Australia and Afghanistan took on each other for the very first time in the shortest format of the game. In the all the other three contests between them in the One Day Internationals (ODIs), Australia came victorious with the last game between them during the 2015 Cricket World Cup held down under.
Multiple changes impact Australia’s semi-final qualification bid against spirited Afghanistan bowlers
Australia made three changes in their playing XI with two of their main players – regular skipper Aaron Finch and Tim David - ruled out of the game due to injury, while eyebrows were raised over the exclusion of Mitchell Starc. Even though Starc hasn’t been enjoying a great run with ball in hand, he could have easily gone through Afghanistan’s batting line-up. The 4-run victory margin was never going to satisfy Australia for sure.
On the flipside of the coin, Afghanistan bowlers were excellent in the death overs as they gave away just 25 runs in the last four overs. Even Rashid Khan with bat in hand, took the game really close with his unbeaten 23-ball 48 run knock that almost carried his team over the line.
Read More: T20 World Cup 2022, Gr 1, AUS v IRE: Australia rise to 2nd place with 1 game left; NRR still -ve
Australia forced to be satisfied with close win as Rashid’s knock went in vain
Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi on winning the toss opted to bowl first. Stand-in Australia captain Matthew Wade informed about their three changes as Aaron Fich, Mitchell Starc and Tim David were let out of the team and they were replaced by Steve Smith, Kane Richardson and Cameron Green, while Afghanistan included Naveen-ul-Haq and Darwish Rasooli in place of Azmatullah Omarzai and Fareed Ahmad.
Australia lost opener Cameron Green in the third over, before losing two more wickets to be reduced to 52/3 in the powerplay as the partnership between Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh took them to 83/3 in 10 overs. Glenn Maxwell and Stonis shared a crucial stand to take Australia to 143/5 in 16 overs, but Afghanistan giving away just 25 runs in the last four overs cramped the hosts to 168/8 in 20 overs.
Chasing 169, Afghanistan made decent strides in the powerplay as they managed 47/2 in that period, before a few big blows from Gulbadin Naib took them to 71/2 at the halfway mark. After the end of the supreme 59-run third wicket stand between Naib and Ibrahim Zadran, Australia pulled the game back to reduce Afghanistan to 106/6 in 15 overs. But Rashid Khan with his entertaining 48* runs in just 23 balls almost carried the game Afghanistan’s way. However, Australia held their nerves for a close four run victory in the final analysis.
Let’s scan the top three performances from the game between Australia and Afghanistan in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022.
Electrifying Maxwell propels Australia to decent total with 54*
In a do-or-die game against Afghanistan, after losing three wickets inside the powerplay, Australia managed to reach 86/4 in the 11th over when Glenn Maxwell walked in to the middle as the defending champions hoped for an expressive knock from their star all-rounder.
Maxwell powered his first boundary over the deep cover fielder, before paddling away past the man at short fine leg for another boundary against Mujeeb Ur Rahman. When Rashid Khan was introduced in the 14th over, Maxwell reverse swept him over the cover region for another boundary.
He pulled Gulbadin Naib over the deep square region for a huge six before smashing the fuller length delivery through the off-side for a boundary to share an important 53-run stand with Marcus Stoinis in just 29 balls.
Australia kept on losing wickets regularly but Maxwell decided to take on the opponent bowlers; he slammed a pull over the deep mid-wicket region as the ball went over the fence for another six. With a boundary in the deep square region, Maxwell celebrated his 10th half-century in 98 games - his first 50+ score in 27 T20I innings. Maxwell finished the innings with another four slapped towards deep cover.
Maxwell who remained unbeaten on 54 in just 32 balls, with the help of six boundaries and couple of sixes now has 2159 T20I runs in 98 games.
Read More: T20 World Cup 2022, Gr 1, AUS v SL: Stoinis single-handedly secures win for Australia with 59*(18)
Smart Naveen-ul-Haq punctures Australia with 3/21
Naveen-ul-Haq stunned Australia with a fantastic spell of bowling. The opponents were 27/1 in three overs, when Naveen-ul-Haq was introduced into the attack. In a miscalculated five-ball over, he was belted for nine runs.
On the second ball of his second over, Naveen sent back David Warner on 25 who in trying to hit a funky switch-hit shot saw a slower ball dragged onto his stumps. Three balls later, Naveen captured the wicket of Steve Smith (4) who was trapped on the front pad just above the knee roll as the umpire raised his finger.
When Naveen was called back for the 17th over of the innings, he gave away just three runs against Matthew Wade and Glenn Maxwell. When he came back to bowl his last over, Naveen caged Pat Cummins who slapped a short ball in the hands of deep cover who grabbed an excellent running catch.
Again, Naveen-ul-Haq gave away just four runs in the over as he finished with 3/21 in his four overs. He now has 31 T20I wickets in 22 games. Naveen was well supported by the opening bowler Fazalhaq Farooqi who ended with 2/29 in his four overs.
Read More: T20 World Cup 2022, Gr 1, ENG v NZ: Buttler's 73, Curran's crucial 2-26 take England to number 2