Australia dumped from T20 World Cup but Afghanistan’s tactics under scrutiny

Australia are out of the Twenty20 World Cup after Afghanistan created history by beating Bangladesh to qualify for the semi-finals, but the minnows’ heroic performance was marred by questions about the spirit of cricket.

As a tense match neared its conclusion, Afghanistan allrounder Gulbadin Naib appeared to take a dive at slip to delay the game after coach Jonathan Trott was seen on camera urging his players to slow the game down as another rain shower approached.

Afghanistan will play South Africa in the first semi-final in Guyana on Thursday morning (AEST) following their eight-run victory by the DLS method after India beat Australia by 24 runs in St Lucia 11 hours earlier.

Gulbadin may be forced to explain to the match referee why he collapsed to the ground clutching his hamstring after Trott’s animated signals from the sideline.

Player of the match in Afghanistan’s victory over Australia two days earlier, Gulbadin limped from the ground during the third of four rain breaks but later returned unhindered to bowl.

Captain Rashid Khan was unimpressed with his fieldsman’s antics, later saying they couldn’t do anything about the rain, which at that stage had Afghanistan just ahead on Duckworth-Lewis-Stern calculations.

“Mentally, you have to play 20 overs and take 10 wickets. That’s the only way we can get to the semi-finals. There’s no other way,” Rashid said.

“He had some cramp I think, so hopefully he’ll be alright, but that wicket he has given to us [the eighth wicket to fall] was a massive wicket for us.

Gulbadin was condemned by broadcast commentators, with former New Zealand fast bowler Simon Doull saying, “That’s not on” and claiming he should “go and play in the Euros”. Former Australian captain Lisa Sthalekar questioned whether the sudden and short-lived injury breached the spirit of the game.

Australia, having lost to India by 24 runs earlier in the day, needed Bangladesh to beat Afghanistan by less than 62 runs or in more than 12.1 overs in the last Super Eights match later on Tuesday to reach the semi-finals with a superior run rate.

australia dumped from t20 world cup but afghanistan’s tactics under scrutiny

Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan, left, and teammate Gulbadin Naib celebrate after defeating Bangladesh by eight runs.

Two days after Afghanistan scored 6-148 to claim an historic victory over Australia in St Vincent, they successfully defended 5-115 on the same tricky pitch, bowling Bangladesh out for 105. It was Afghanistan’s second victory in the Super Eight stage. Australia managed just one win from three games.

India’s victory confirmed their place in the second semi-final against England in Guyana early Friday morning (AEST). A blazing 92 from just 41 balls by captain Rohit Sharma drove India to 5-205. The final is in Barbados early Sunday morning (AEST).

In what became his last game for Australia, David Warner went with a whimper, caught at slip for six following an outswinger from Arshdeep Singh. Waiting for the result of the last game meant Warner’s retirement send-off was put on hold until the early hours of the morning.

“We’ll give him a send-off tonight if that is the case later on. It might be a bit of a late one if the fixture finishes the way it has,” Australia’s highest scorer, Travis Head, said after Australia’s loss before heading back to the team hotel in

“A lot has been said about how good Davey has been at the top of the order. He goes down as our best multi-format player. He’ll be missed at the top of the order, but let’s hope it’s not the end of it.”

Australia were on course for an unlikely victory against India as long was Head was at his blazing best. He became the leading run-scorer of the tournament with 255 runs, but his dismissal on 76 from 43 balls with nine fours and four sixes left India in control.

Captain Mitch Marsh made 37 from 28 balls, his highest score of the tournament. He hammered a pull shot from left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav that appeared to be going for six. Axar Patel leapt in the air with both arms at full stretch, and the ball stuck in his right hand.

Glenn Maxwell continued Australia’s momentum, gliding a lovely four behind point from his first ball, which was spinner Ravindra Jadeja’s first of the game. The second ball was audaciously reverse-swept for six.

But Maxwell’s high-risk game proved his undoing, walking down the pitch to Yadav, only to be beaten by his wrong-up and bowled for 19 from 12 balls.

Australia’s task became more difficult when Marcus Stoinis, a match-winner earlier in the tournament, reverse-swept a catch off Patel’s left-arm spin for just two, leaving Australia 4-135 and needing 71 from 35 balls for victory.

Twice last year Australia had put India to the sword in world title matches, the World Test Championship final and one-day World Cup. Rohit was determined to hammer the world beaters into submission, hitting seven fours and eight sixes.

He took a frightening four sixes and a four from Mitchell Starc’s second over, the third of the innings, romped to his 50 in just 19 balls, the fastest in this tournament, and sent India to 2-100 in just 8.4 overs.

Starc returned to bowl Rohit with a trademark yorker, finishing with an almost respectable 2-45 on the good batting surface.

Josh Hazlewood returned an extraordinary 1-14 from his four overs and that wicket was Virat Kohli (0) with Hazlewood’s third ball in the second over of the match. Surprised by a short ball, Kohli skied a pull and Tim David ran back from mid-on to take a well-judged catch.

It left Kohli with just 66 runs at an average of 11 and strike rate of 100 for the tournament.

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