T20 World Cup 2024: Only guy who put us in semifinals was Brian Lara and we proved him right, says Rashid

T20 World Cup 2024: Afghanistan prevailed in a low-scoring encounter against Bangladesh which was stopped by rain multiple times and knocked Australia out of the Super Eight stage.

Published : Jun 25, 2024 14:40 IST , Kingstown - 4 MINS READ

| Video Credit: PTI

West Indian batting great Brian Lara had predicted Afghanistan would reach the T20 World Cup semifinals nearly a month before the tournament began and now that the giant slayers have made it, skipper Rashid Khan said he is immensely proud to have proved the legend right.

Afghanistan continued its brilliant run at the T20 World Cup as it marched to its first-ever World Cup semifinal with an eight-run win over Bangladesh in the last Super 8 clash here.

“The only guy who put us in the semifinals was Brian Lara, and we proved him right. When we met him at a welcome party, I told him, ‘We won’t let you down,’” Rashid said at the post-match presentation.

“I think when you get the kind of great, great statements from a legend, as a team, I think it gives you lots of energy as well. We are capable,” he added.

Lara, in an interaction with PTI last month, had predicted that Afghanistan would be among the semifinalists in the mega-event.

“Afghanistan, they are capable of getting into the (last) four,” Lara had said while picking his tournament favourites.

READ | T20 World Cup 2024: David Warner’s international career ends as Australia flies back home

Rashid said the conviction that they could advance to the semifinals was ignited by their triumph over heavyweights New Zealand in the group stage.

“It’s a dream for us to be in the semifinals. The way we started the tournament, the belief came when we beat New Zealand. It’s unbelievable,” he recalled.

Afghanistan also picked up a historic win over Australia before beating Bangladesh in the final Super 8 fixture to set up a semifinal date with South Africa on June 27.

Against Bangladesh, Afghanistan was restricted to 115/5, but the bowlers led by Naveen Ul Haq and Rashid propelled them to a thrilling eight-run win.

“We thought 130-135 was a good score, but we fell 15 runs short. We knew they would come hard at us, and we knew that is what we could take advantage of. We didn’t need to do anything extra, just be clear in our plans.

Pacers Naveen and Fazalhaq Farooqi have excelled with the new ball all through the campaign, and Rashid couldn’t be happier.

“In T20s if you get a good start, it helps us in the middle overs. They have given a great start to us in the whole competition. It makes it easier for us to go harder at the batsmen.

“They have delivered, they were very clear in their minds,” Rashid said.

On the several rain interruptions that eventually led the match to be truncated, Rashid said they were mentally ready to pick all 10 wickets.

“Rain is something not in our hands, but mentally we knew we have to play 20 overs and take 10 wickets.

“That’s the only way we could win. But Gulbadin had some cramps. But his wicket was invaluable to us,” he said.

The skipper reckoned there will be a huge celebration back home.

“It’s a big achievement for us as well. We have done that at the U-19 level, but at this World Cup, I don’t have any words to describe the feeling back home. We have to go into the semis with a very clear mind and make sure we enjoy the occasion,” he said.

Shanto blames batters

Bangladesh skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto conceded the team was once again let down by its batters.

“We bowled well. As a bowling unit, we did a lot of good things. But as a batting unit, we made some poor decisions, especially in the middle overs,” he admitted.

“As a whole bowling unit doing a great job especially, I mentioned Rishad whole tournament he bowled really well, Tanzim Sakib bowled well. I felt all the bowlers did a great job that is we can take forward and as a fielding group I think we felt really well in all the matches, so there are some lot of positive things that we can take going forward.

“It’s a matter of a lot of frustration and a lot of pain too. Because before coming to play this match, everyone’s plan was that we would win the match first. But if such a situation arises, then we will definitely take the chance that we had. But we couldn’t take it. And the whole batting line-up made very bad decisions.”

Asked if Bangladesh let it slip by not scoring enough runs in the powerplay and later Mahmudullah playing too many dot balls, Shanto said: “The plan was that we would try to score in the first six overs. If we start well and we don’t lose the early wickets, then we will take the chance. But when we lost three early wickets, our plan was different.

“Our plan was how we could win the match then. Because our plan was to win the match. I would say that the middle order didn’t make a good decision. Because of this, I think we lost the match.”

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