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T20 World Cup 2024: Meme fest explodes as Afghanistan shock Australia with 21-run win in Super 8s

Afghanistan stunned heavyweights Australia by 21 runs in their Super Eight match of the T20 World Cup 2024 in Kingstown on Sunday.

T20 World Cup 2024: Meme fest explodes as Afghanistan shock Australia with 21-run win in Super 8s snt
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First Published Jun 23, 2024, 10:42 AM IST

In a stunning upset at the T20 World Cup 2024 in Kingstown, Afghanistan secured a remarkable 21-run victory over powerhouse Australia on Saturday. Gulbadin Naik's exceptional four-wicket performance overshadowed Pat Cummins' hat-trick, marking a historic day for Afghan cricket.

Afghanistan, displaying tactical brilliance with slower balls on a challenging batting surface, successfully defended their modest total of 148 for six. This triumph marked their first-ever victory over Australia in international cricket.

Facing an unexpected setback, Australia faltered and were bowled out for 127 in 19.2 overs, placing their World Cup journey in jeopardy. Now, they face a must-win situation against India on Monday and rely on Afghanistan losing to Bangladesh in their upcoming match to avoid early elimination.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ICC (@icc)

Afghanistan's opening duo of Rahmanullah Gurbaz (60) and Ibrahim Zadran (51) stitched together a formidable 118-run partnership, setting a strong foundation for a challenging total. However, Pat Cummins delivered a stunning blow by claiming his second successive hat-trick spread across two overs, limiting Afghanistan to a more manageable score.

Australia faced early trouble in their chase, stumbling to 32 for 3 within the powerplay. Yet, Glenn Maxwell's aggressive innings of 59 runs off 41 balls provided a glimmer of hope, staging a partial recovery. Despite Maxwell's efforts, timely strikes from Afghanistan's Naib proved decisive in dismantling the 2021 champions.

This victory marked Afghanistan's retaliation for their loss to Australia in Mumbai during the ODI World Cup. Once again, Maxwell posed a threat to deny Afghanistan, as he did previously, but Naib's crucial interventions secured their triumph.

The Afghan players and their support staff erupted in jubilation to celebrate their hard-earned win. As a result, Group 1 of the tournament has now become wide open, with both Afghanistan and Australia each securing one win, leaving them with one match left to play. Meanwhile, India maintains its lead in the table with two victories from as many games.

With a target of 149 on a pitch favoring spin, Afghanistan made an ideal start, with Naveen-ul-Haq striking early to dismiss two key Australian batsmen. His fuller delivery cleaned up Travis Head for a duck, followed by deceiving Mitch Marsh with a slower ball that led to a catch by Nabi.

Maxwell alleviated the pressure with two boundaries off Azmatullah, but Nabi's dismissal of David Warner (3), attempting a slog sweep only to find Noor Ahmad, saw Australia stumble to their lowest Powerplay score of 33 for 3 in this World Cup.

Continuing his torment of Afghanistan from the ODI World Cup last year, Maxwell continued to find boundaries, striking spinner Nangeyalia Kharote for a four and a six.

Naib then struck twice to revive Afghanistan's hopes, surprising Marcus Stoinis with a bouncer that resulted in a top-edge caught by Gurbaz. He followed it up by trapping Tim David lbw, leaving Australia reeling at 85 for 5 in the 13th over.

Maxwell maintained Australia's chase with a six off Rashid Khan in the 12th over and another off Naib in the 13th.

Naib returned to claim his prized scalp, dismissing Maxwell in the 15th over, and Rashid Khan removed Matthew Wade soon after, dismantling Australia's chase further.

In the following overs, Naib shattered Cummins' stumps, while Naveen-ul-Haq claimed his third victim by dismissing Ashton Agar. Azmatullah wrapped up the innings by dismissing Josh Hazlewood.

Earlier, Gurbaz and Ibrahim registered their third century partnership of this T20 World Cup with a 118-run stand.

The pair capitalized on their opportunities, and Australia had to wait until the 16th over to break through. Gurbaz hammered four sixes and as many fours in his 49-ball innings, while Zadran struck six boundaries in his 48-ball knock.

Stoinis dismissed Gurbaz with an off-cutter, and in the next over, Adam Zampa bowled Azmatullah with a slider.

Afghanistan, seeking quick runs, lost wickets thereafter, with Cummins claiming the dismissals of Rashid Khan, Karim Janat, and Gulbadin Naib to become the first player to record two hat-tricks in T20 World Cups.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ICC (@icc)

A massive meme fest exploded on X, formerly Twitter, following Afghanistan's epic victory. Here's a look at how fans reacted:

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