Wednesday, July 24, 2024

SA20 League: DSG star Naveen-ul-Haq bowls Afghanistan to historic win over Australia

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Photo Credit: SA20 League

Durban’s Super Giants star Naveen-ul-Haq combined with fellow seamer Gulbadin Naib to lead Afghanistan to a historic maiden 21-run victory over Australia in their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Super Eight clash at the Arnos Vale Stadium on Saturday.

After setting Australia a target of 149, Naveen (3/20) created early inroads when he rattled Travis Head’s stumps with with a good length delivery that straightened on middle to send the dangerous Australian opener back to the pavilion for a three-ball duck.

Naveen, who helped DSG to their maiden Betway SA20 final last season, then struck again to peg Australia further back when he deceived Mitchell Marsh with a slower delivery as the Aussie captain chipped tamely to mid-on.

Australia were deeply in the quagmire before the Powerplay ran its course when Muhammad Nabi had David Warner caught at short fine-leg to leave the Test and 50-overs world champions at 32/3.

Naveen’s DSG teammate Marcus Stoinis (11) then attempted to rebuild the Australian innings through a 39-run partnership – the biggest of the innings – with Glenn Maxwell before he fell victim to Gulbadin.

It was from hereon where the Australian innings fell apart, losing their last seven wickets for just 56 runs, with Gulbadin tearing through the middle-order to finish with figures of 4/20.

It included the wicket of Australia’s lone resistor Maxwell for 59.

Naveen played his part in the Australian lower-order capitulation as he removed another of his former DSG teammates Ashton Agar.

Earlier, Afghanistan had seemed set for an imposing total after another century opening stand from Rahmanullah Gurbaz (60, 49 balls, 4×4, 4×6) and Ibrahim Zadran (51, 48 balls, 6×4), but a second consecutive T20 World Cup hat-trick from Pat Cummins restricted the Afghans to 148/6.

In the process, Rahmanullah overtook another DSG batter Nicholas Pooran as the top run-scorer at this T20 World Cup to lead the table with 238 runs at average of 39.66 and strike-rate of 141.6.

Ibrahim Zadran, meanwhile, sits just below West Indian Pooran in third place with 211 runs at an average of 52.75 and strike-rate of 150.71.

Rahmanullah and Gurbaz have already compiled three century opening stands at this T20 World Cup.

“The opening partnership gave us the best start. On this wicket, anything 130-plus, we were capable of defending it as long as we kept calm and had the belief. That’s the beauty of this team,” Afghanistan captain and MI Cape Town star Rashid Khan said.

“Massive win for us as a team and as a nation. Great feeling. It’s something we missed in last two years.

“It’s so important for us back home and around the world. I’m sure they’re proud and would’ve enjoyed the game. Really happy with the win and super proud of the guys.”

The victory has kept Afghanistan’s hopes of reaching a first-ever T20 World Cup semi-final alive with one Super Eight match remaining against Bangladesh.



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