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Rashid can finally sleep after avenging Australia's Mumbai nightmare

June 23, 2024 18:16 IST
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Afghan captain Rashid Khan celebrates with teammates after stunning Australia in Kingstown, St Vincent, on Sunday 

IMAGE: Afghan captain Rashid Khan celebrates with teammates after stunning Australia in Kingstown, St Vincent, on Sunday. Photograph: Kind courtesy Rashid Khan/X

Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan can finally look forward to sleeping better after Saturday's T20 World Cup win avenged last year's loss to Australia in the 50-overs version.

Cramped-up Glenn Maxwell's incredible double-century helped Australia snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in November, leading to Afghanistan falling just short of qualifying for the semi-finals.


But a 21-run win in Kingstown, Afghanistan's first in the Super Eight stage, has reignited their hopes of making history by qualifying for a World Cup semi for the first time.

"I can sleep better now, I think," Khan told reporters. "That game kept coming in my mind ... Maxi, the way he played that night, took the game away from us and I didn't sleep the whole night.

"Tonight, because of the happiness I won't be able to sleep. That's how happy the whole team is and the whole country is. It's a massive win for us, as a team, as a nation.

"Cricket is the only source of happiness back home, we all know that. And I feel like we are so lucky to be here giving happiness to the people back home."

Afghanistan, third in Group One with two points and trailing Australia on net run rate, have a shot at finishing in the top two and making the semis if they beat bottom side Bangladesh on Monday when Australia play leaders India, who have four points.

Rashid showered praise on his teammate Gulbadin Naib saying that the all-rounder just used his experience in the game.

Afghanistan's players celebrate victory

IMAGE: Gulbadin Naib celebrates with teammates. Photograph: Afghanistan Cricket Board/X

Gulbadin Naib was named the Player of the Match after he bagged four wickets and gave 20 runs in his four-over spell at an economy rate of 5.00. He picked up some crucial wickets in the game as he removed Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David and Pat Cummins from the crease.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Rashid said that it was not easy for Gulbadin to bowl in the first innings.

"It wasn't easy for him to bowl from that end, where that strong wind and a bowler like him, it's pretty hard. But he just used his experience, and he has been playing for Afghanistan for long. So, I think that experience really help us today and that's how you keep those big players for the big games and he honestly got the opportunity he delivered," Rashid said.

The Afghan skipper said that they got an upper hand in the game after the openers played a 118-run partnership in the first innings.

"I think the advantage went to us because we had that perfect 100-run partnership. In a wicket like this, I think it's always a wicket of 130-140. If you have a good bowling lineup, we have seen a few games before as well," he added.

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