T20 World Cup: Rashid Khan Reveals Proving ‘Only Guy Who Put Afghanistan in Semi-final was Brian Lara’ Right, Spurred Them On – News18

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Saint Vincent & the Grenadines

T20 World Cup: Afghanistan's Rashid Khan and Gulbadin Naib (AP)

T20 World Cup: Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan and Gulbadin Naib (AP)

Rashid Khan said he and his team wanted to prove Brian Lara right for being the only one to predict Afghanistan to be in the 2024 T20 World Cup semi-finals.

Afghanistan qualified for the semifinals of the T20 World Cup after beating Bangladesh by eight runs in the rain-hit final Super 8 game at the Arnos Vale Stadium in St Vincent.

Rashid Khan reflected on the historic win, at the post-match presentation, saying: “It’s something like a dream for us as a team being in the semifinal. It’s all about the way we have started the tournament. The belief came while we beat New Zealand. It’s unbelievable, I don’t have any words to describe my feelings. Back home, everyone is so happy for this big achievement.”

“The only guy who put us in the semifinal was Brian Lara and we proved that right. Before the competition at the welcome party, I told him, ‘We won’t let you down. We’ll make it through and prove you’re right.’ I am proud of this team,” Rashid added.

T20 World Cup: Afghanistan vs Bangladesh – HIGHLIGHTS

In a must-win match which saw frequent rain interruptions, Afghanistan scored 115 for 5 in their 20 overs and then returned to bowl out Bangladesh for 105 in 17.5 overs. The match was truncated to 19-overs-a-side due to inclement weather and Bangladesh was given a revised target of 114.

“We thought 130-135 was a good total on this wicket. We were 15-20 runs short. It was all about the mindset. We knew they would come hard at us to chase that in 12 overs to get into the semifinal. That’s where we could take advantage. If we bowled into the stumps, we had a better chance to getting them out. We didn’t have to do anything extra. We just had to be clear with our plans. We put in the effort, that’s in our hands. Rain, result is not in our hands. That 100% effort is always in our hands. Everyone did a wonderful job,” Rashid said.

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“In T20s, we have a strong base, especially in bowling. The quality of fast bowling we have got, it’s not as fast but they are more skillful. In T20s, if you have skills, you are more effective. They have given great starts in this World Cup competition so far and it becomes easy for us (spinners) in the middle where we can go hard at the batsmen. So happy the way they have delivered. They were very clear with their mind, that’s very pleasing. Rain was on and off, but mentally we were always there. We had to play 20 overs and we had to take 10 wickets, that’s the only way to get to the semifinal, there’s no other way,” he said.

“Gulbadin had some cramps I think, hopefully he’ll be alright. That wicket he took was massive for us,” Rashdi said in reference to the Afghanistan all-rounder’s feined injury.

ALSO READ | ‘This is Unacceptable… Match Fee Gone’: Afghanistan’s Gulbadin Naib Criticised for Deliberate Delaying Proceedings

The result knocked out former champions Australia, whose slim hopes were hinging on Bangladesh winning this game. Afghanistan will take on South Africa in the semifinals on June 27.

“It’s a massive celebration back home now. It’s a big achievement for us. We have done that in the Under-19 level, being in the semifinal. But in this World Cup … I don’t have any words how to describe the feeling. The country will be very proud. I am so happy the way we have delivered as a team. We took the responsibility. Being in the semis is big, now we have to go with a clear mind. We’ll have to keep things simple and make sure we enjoy the big occasion,” Rashid said.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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