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Afghanistan qualify for first World Cup semi-final at Australia's expense

25 Jun 2024 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

Afghanistan qualified for the semi-finals of a World Cup for the first time in their history by beating Bangladesh in a low-scoring classic in St Vincent.

The victory sees them progress as runners-up from Super 8s Group 1, while putting their opponents and heavyweights Australia out of the tournament.

Entering the match needing a win to advance to the knockout stage, Afghanistan underperformed in the first innings, setting Bangladesh a low target of 115.

A rollercoaster, rain-interrupted second innings ensued, in which both sides and then Australia looked to be favourites to progress at different stages of the chase.

Ultimately it was Afghanistan who emerged triumphant, with captain Rashid Khan and Naveen-ul-Haq taking four wickets apiece to secure a win by just eight runs.

They will now play South Africa in the semi-finals in Trinidad on Thursday (01:30 BST), and are one match away from facing either England or India in Saturday's final.

Their opposition, who were also seeking to reach their first World Cup semi-final, needed to win by a large margin to qualify on net run-rate.

They successfully throttled the dangerous Afghanistan opening pair of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran, both falling to the bowling of leg-spinner Rishad Hossain, who took 3-26.

Set a reachable total, Bangladesh knew they had to win in 12.1 overs to turn the net run-rate in their favour, but lost veteran Shakib al Hasan and captain Najmul Hossain Shanto to successive balls from Naveen-ul-Haq in the third over.

Having failed to secure victory in time, they remained in contention for a consolation win that would have seen Australia qualify instead of their opponents, but captain Rashid Khan took 4-23 to keep Afghanistan in the match, before Naveen took the final two Bangladesh wickets either side of a rain delay to begin rapturous celebrations. (BBC)