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Rediff.com  » Cricket » T20 WC: Afghanistan deserve to be in the semis: Rashid

T20 WC: Afghanistan deserve to be in the semis: Rashid

Source: PTI
June 25, 2024 22:20 IST
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IMAGE: Afghanistan scripted history by qualifying for their maiden T20 World Cup semi-final with a win over Bangladesh in the Super 8 on Tuesday. Photograph: Afghanistan Cricket Board/X

Skipper Rashid Khan believes that Afghanistan's maiden T20 World Cup semi-final qualification, following spectacular wins over New Zealand and Australia along the way, is a momentous feat that will inspire the youth of the strife-torn nation.

Afghanistan, who became a full ICC member in 2017, scripted history by qualifying for their maiden T20 World Cup semi-final with a win over Bangladesh on Tuesday.

 

"I think the semi-final is going to be a massive, massive like inspiration for the youngsters back home in Afghanistan. That Afghanistan team get into the semis for the first time," Rashid said at the post match press conference.

"And we have done it Under-19 level, but this level we haven't done that. Even Super 8s was first time for us and then in semis," he added.

Moments after the win, visuals of jubilant fans back home celebrating Afghanistan's historic achievement started doing the rounds on social media.

With the feat, Afghanistan have showed how much they have progressed in the white ball formats. At last year's ODI World Cup, they upset defending champions England and former winners Sri Lanka and Pakistan. They are continuing their giant slaying run at the T20 World Cup having beaten heavyweights New Zealand and Australia.

"The cricket we have played in the whole tournament so far - I think we deserve to be in the semis. The way everyone took the responsibility of getting into the game and performing best for the team," said Rashid.

"So, I don't know how I can describe my feeling but it's a massive achievement for us as a team and as a nation to be in the semis and now looking forward to the semis."

The Afghanistan cricket team is a group of individuals who have honed their skills by plying their trade in T20 leagues around the world. But when they come together to play for their country, it's hard to find a more passionate bunch.

Afghanistan have found the perfect head coach in former England cricketer Jonathan Trott, who balances things out with his calm and composed demeanour. The result is a side high on self belief.

"To me, there is no good team and bad team. Every team is equal to each other. As long on a day, we took the right decision the right time, and that's where the difference comes when you're a loser. So other than that, skill-wise, everyone is equal, I think," Rashid said.

An unbeaten South African team awaits them in the semi-final. But the Proteas were stretched a few times in the tournament, especially by minnows Nepal, who stumbled at the final juncture, losing by a run.

"Well, it's always you get that kind of inspiration for any team you watch on TV and those small totals when team defend that it gives you lots of things to learn from and definitely the way Nepal performed in the whole competition was something pleasing to see."

"They have played great cricket against all the sides they have played. And that's how T20 is all about. You need to have that kind of self-belief that we are capable of beating any side as long we do the right thing in the right time and we're making sure we keep the thing simple."

There was a moment during the game against Bangladesh when Gulbadin Naib dramatically fell on his back, clutching his thigh after Trott signalled his players to slow things down.

But minutes later, not only was the all-rounder back on the field but he also went on to take Tanzim Hasan's wicket, causing several former players and commentators to question the genuineness of his discomfort. But Rashid sought to play down the incident.

"Well, he had some cramp, I don't know what happened to him and I don't know what's going on in social media but that doesn't matter - it's just the end field injury which comes and then we haven't lost any overs, the rain came and we just went off, it's not something like brought a massive difference in the game.

"We came back on field after five minutes and there was no massive difference. For me, it's just like a small injury comes in, then you have to take some time."

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