Afghans hail 'massive win' over Australia at T20 World Cup

Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan (L) celebrates with his teammates after the 'massive' win over Australia at the T20 World Cup (Randy Brooks)
Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan (L) celebrates with his teammates after the 'massive' win over Australia at the T20 World Cup (Randy Brooks)

Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan described his side's 21-run victory over Australia in the T20 World Cup Super Eight match on Sunday as a "massive win for us as a team and as a nation."

The Afghans took advantage of a poor performance in the field from the Australians to post 148-6 in their innings before bowling the 2021 champions out for 127, a result that keeps alive their hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals.

"It's not just like a bilateral game," said Rashid.

"It's a World Cup game, and definitely in a World Cup, you're beating one of the best sides. It's a great achievement."

It was Afghanistan's first ever win over Australia and came a year after Glenn Maxwell had rescued the eventual world champions from defeat in the ODI World Cup in India.

"It means a lot. Beating teams like Australia... it gives the people back home so much hope. Especially the young generation getting involved in the cricket.

"Cricket is the only source of happiness back home, you all know that. And I feel like we are so lucky to be here giving this happiness to the people back home.

"As a team we can make them more proud and give them more happiness."

Politics has added some needle to their encounters with Cricket Australia withdrawing from bilateral series because of the "deterioration in human rights" for women and girls in Afghanistan.

"Cricket is the only source of happiness back home," said Rashid.

"That's the only source left in Afghanistan where people could celebrate. And if we keep that source away from us as well, I don't know where Afghanistan will remain.

"Once you take this source and happiness from us as well, I think it's going to be hard for us.

"I don't think cricket is the solution of politics and things like that. So, yeah, if we play in World Cup, why don't we play in bilateral series?"

- Australia 'outplayed' -

Australian captain Mitchell Marsh admitted Afghanistan "outplayed us" on a night when his side dropped five catches.

"They're a very good cricket team who play against the best all the time and they have improved a hell of a lot over the last few years," said Marsh.

"We know certainly in these conditions that they are a big danger team. Like I said before, they outplayed us tonight and credit to them."

With one match to play in the Super Eights, Afghanistan and Australia have two points each while India top the group with four.

Afghanistan will face winless Bangladesh in their final game in the Super Eights in Kingstown, St Vincent while Australia, who currently occupy second spot in the group on the basis of run rate, will likely need to beat India in St Lucia to secure a place in the semi-finals.

"We have a lot of belief in our group," said Marsh.

"We are a very good cricket team. Yes, tonight we had an off night but I guess there's also a positive in the fact that in 36 hours we go again.

"It's a big game, it will be against India obviously and it's a must-win game.

"I think if you look back at the short history of this team, I know for a fact that it brings out the best in our guys, so the boys will certainly be up and about for it."