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Australia gains momentum in semi-final qualification, updates and Super 8 table

Australia’s hopes of an unlikely T20 World Cup semi-final berth depend on a solid batting display from Bangladesh (who are not overly dominant) against Afghanistan this afternoon.

The Australians will need Bangladesh to chase down Afghanistan’s target of 116 in over 12.1 overs if they are to advance to the final four.

Incredibly, that scenario would see the winners of the 2021 T20 World Cup go through with just one win in three games and a net run rate (NRR) of -0.331.

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However, if world number nine Bangladesh chase the total in less than 12.1 overs (assuming a full 20 overs are allotted), their net run rate will surpass Australia’s and see them reach their first ever semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. .

And dramatically, rain has set in at the start of the innings break to make the quest for a place in the semi-finals even more chaotic.
A shortened game will obviously change the equation for the trio of teams that can qualify, and the weather threatens to perhaps wipe out an entire game overall.

Australia’s 24-run loss to India this morning left their hopes of advancing to the semi-finals of the tournament entirely in the hands of the match in Kingstown.

Afghanistan won the toss and elected to bat, with Bangladesh captain Najmul Hossain Shanto noting that he would have bowled anyway if they had won the coin toss.

The Tigers got off to a hot start, bowling seven-point balls in the first two overs to restrict Afghanistan to 0-5.

Unfortunately, Tanzim Hasan Sakib’s second over was not as economical, forcing four breaks with a wild bounce before being airlifted through covers for the next four balls as Afghanistan won by 11 runs.

Openers Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmanullah Gurbaz were lightning quick between the wickets, warning the Bangladesh defenders from the first ball.

Veteran all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was introduced into the attack during the fifth innings, and his orthodox left-armer soon provided an opportunity.

With just his third ball, Ibrahim was bowled by young batsman Towhid Hridoy at short cover, an opportunity which, although extremely difficult, would have gone a long way to helping Australia an unlikely semi-final place – and an even more unlikely for Bangladesh.

And despite the missed opportunity and wicketless powerplay, Bangladesh completed the six-over period as arguably the leaders, holding Afghanistan to 0-27, their lowest powerplay score of the tournament.

On the last ball of the seventh over, Gurbaz recorded his team’s first high of the innings, coming down the wicket to Shakib’s bowling and giving Afghanistan a much-needed boundary.

“Why are you floating that one? Aren’t you just shooting it at the pads?” said former New Zealand fast bowler Simon Doull in the sixth over.

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Tanzim Hasan Sakib again brought a short ball into the field at a good pace, this time making five deliveries in addition to his four dismissals with a similar ball in the third over, giving Afghanistan an extra advantage.

Sitting at 0-58 midway through the innings, momentum was still in play; although there he was undoubtedly an advantage for Afghanistan due to his 10 wickets in hand.

Almost on cue, Rishad Hossain, off 18 runs off 29 balls, removed Ibrahim with a skied shot at long run, breaking a threatening partnership between the Afghan opening duo.

Afghanistan scored just 22 runs between overs 10 and 15, and sat at a peculiar 1-80 with five overs left in the innings.

“At the moment, they’re doing everything they can to make (semifinal qualification) a possibility…they’ve been just excellent with their line (and) length,” Doull said.

“Bangladesh would be delighted, absolutely delighted,” added former New Zealand goalkeeper Ian Smith in the 16th over.

Opening batsman Azmatullah Omarzai (10 off 12) departed soon after Smith’s comments, courtesy of a Bangladesh review for being caught out that was originally not released.

“They haven’t gotten enough runs at the moment, and by some margin you could suspect it,” Smith added after Omarzai’s dismissal.

Without losing control of the bat for the first time in the night, Gurbaz tried to pick up the run rate to start the 17th over but ended up bowling Soumya Sarkar at deep cover to force Afghanistan to 3-89.

And Sarkar took an even better catch later to send Gulbadin Naib packing four off three balls.
A 15-run final over brought on by Rashid Khan took Afghanistan from 5-100 to 5-115, and the bowling superstar ended the innings with a corner six over cows from 98 metres.

Khan finished with 19 not off 10 balls, while Karim Janat also finished with red ink after 7 off 6.

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