Another nail-biter and an upset was on the cards but Australia held their nerve and got over the line, now they hope for Sri Lanka to beat England tomorrow at the SCG.
Afghanistan had won the toss and opted to field first. Australia had no other choice but to go with an attacking approach from the start. It was surprising not to see Aaron Finch in the Playing XI.
David Warner gave a good start to Australia smashing fours but his partner Cameron Green failed to get going. Warner departed in the last over of the powerplay and Mitch Marsh played the anchoring innings.
Mitch Marsh and Marcus Stoinis stitched a brilliant partnership in the middle and later it was Glenn Maxwell who took the Aussies to a formidable total of 168-8 after 20 innings.
In reply, Afghanistan lost Usman Ghani early and Rahmanullah Gurbaz looked to some dynamic shots with hard hands. He scored 30 runs off 17 balls and just like Australia, Afghanistan also lost two wickets inside the powerplay.
Ibrahim Zadran and Gulbadin Naib stitched a fantastic partnership 59 for the third wicket and did take Afghanistan to a good position. At this point, Afghanistan were on top of the game. Maxwell’s direct hit resulted in the 14th over which was the turning point of the game, Adam Zamp grabbed two wickets. Josh Hazlewood followed it up with another wicket, in the space of 9 balls the course of the game was turned in favour of Australia.
Afghanistan were 120-6 after the 17th over and they needed 49 runs from the last 18 balls. Rashid Khan was at the crease and he hammered Kane Richardson, Josh Hazlewood, and Marcus Stoinis all around the park and gave a real scare to the Aussies. In the end, Marcus Stoinis defended 22 runs in the last over and Australia eventually won the game by 4 runs.
Read More: India v Bangladesh- Match Highlights
Post Match- Comments
Matthew Wade (Australia captain): We gave Stoinis the last over, to have the allrounder to bowl the last over is pretty nerve-wracking. I played him in IPL and I have seen him do it for 3-4 times. But never felt entirely sure at any point. We will stay here tonight and watch the game tomorrow, we will be hoping for an upset. We put ourselves in this position from the get-go, we have been slow in this tournament and hopefully it doesn’t cost us. David was very close to selection tonight and we are very hopeful they [David and Finch] will come through if we get there.
Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan captain): Really good game of cricket, they started really well, at the end Farooqi bowled well. The way we started in the powerplay and in the middle, but we throw away that 4 wickets in the middle under pressure. It’s really tough to play a game and then don’t play for 10 days. We did not get any momentum at all through this tournament. Day by day we improve and today was a fantastic game for us.
Glenn Maxwell (Player of the Match): Afghanistan played really well, they struck the ball really cleanly. At the start, they put us under pressure in the powerplay. We were able to hold them back but then there was some pretty clean hitting towards the back end and gave us a bit of a scare. It was nice to have an impact in the field. I knew I wasn’t going to have much of an impact with the ball with the conditions they were. To have an impact is nice. During the day, it was quite slow and taking spin, it was holding up a little bit. It was quite hard to press the issue. We got to about the 12th over mark where we just had to put a total on the board to make sure we gave ourselves a chance of winning the game. Even though we were trying to go hard, they bowled extremely well in the last four overs. They executed their plans and it was hard to get away. We’ll be following it (England vs Sri Lanka), we put ourselves in this situation, but hopefully Sri Lanka can do the job for us.