T20 World Cup: Australia beat Afghanistan but failed to increase their run rate

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Group 1, Adelaide
Australia 168-8 (20 overs): Maxwell 54* (32), Marsh 45 (30); Naveen 2-20
Afghanistan 164-7 (20 overs): Rashid 48* (23), Gulbadin 39 (23), Gurbaz 30 (17)
Australia won by four runs
Scorecard. Tables.

Australia beat Afghanistan by four wickets in the Men’s T20 World Cup but failed to get the clean run rate needed to boost their chances even further.

This means that if England beat Sri Lanka on Saturday, they will progress at the expense of the hosts.

If Sri Lanka win, Australia will join New Zealand to progress from Group 1 to the last four.

Australia needed a big win in Adelaide to put the pressure on England but couldn’t let it go with the bat as they were restricted to 168-8, meaning they had to keep Afghanistan below 119 to give England a run away. .

In the end Australia, without captain Aaron Finch injured or the oddly dropped Mitchell Starc, were narrowly beaten, which would have ended their hopes entirely.

Afghanistan were 98-2 after 13 overs of their chase before three wickets in four balls – a brilliant run from Glenn Maxwell and two for spinner Adam Zampa – swung the game back to Australia.

Rashid Khan then smashed 48 off 23 balls, but with 22 needed from the final over, Afghanistan fell short despite Rashid hitting a six and two fours.

Earlier, David Warner had given Australia a quick start with 28, but the usual loss of wickets checked the scoreline as Maxwell made 54 not out from 32 balls.

Credit must also go to a brilliant bowling performance from Afghanistan, with Naveen-ul-Haq closing the innings brilliantly and taking 2-20.

New Zealand beat Ireland earlier on Friday to secure one of the two semi-final spots. They will almost certainly take first place unless England win by a large margin.

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