“Our journey starts now,” Afghanistan Hero Gulbadin Naib after a historic win against Australia

Travis Head

In a thrilling cricket encounter, Afghanistan scripted history by defeating Australia in the Super Eight stage of the T20 World Cup 2024. Afghanistan’s match-winner Gulbadin Naib was elated after they were finally able to defeat Australia on the grand stage on June 23.

Afghanistan’s 21-run win against Australia marks their first victory in six attempts in international cricket. Prior to this, they had faced defeat in all previous meetings with Australia, including four in ODIs.

Before this match, Australia had an impressive eight-match winning streak in T20Is. However, Afghanistan’s spirited performance halted their dominance. Australia had won all five matches they played at the T20 World Cup 2024 before this encounter, including a 3-0 victory against New Zealand in February.

Afghanistan’s pace bowlers were on fire, taking a total of eight wickets against Australia. This performance equals their best in a men’s T20I match. Previously, they had taken eight wickets against Namibia in the 2021 T20 World Cup and twice in bilateral matches earlier this year.

Gulbadin Naib’s crucial contribution in an emphatic win

Gulbadin Naib played a pivotal role with the ball, finishing with impressive figures of 4 for 20. His bowling performance ranks as the second-best by any bowler against Australia in the men’s T20 World Cup, trailing only R Ashwin’s 4 for 11 in the 2014 edition.

Speaking after the historic win, Naib was adjudged as the Player Of The Match said they had been waiting for this for a long time. The all-rounder was a great moment for Afghanistan cricket and thanked the fans after the achievement. Naib also thanked captain Rashid Khan for trusting him to complete his full quota of 4 overs.

“We were waiting for a long time. Great moment for me, my nation, my people. Big achievement for our cricket. Thanks to our fans for supporting our cricket journey. We worked hard for the last 2 months, and the result is in front of you. The wicket wasn’t easy to bat on, the ball was too bouncy. I took two wickets early on and carried that on later. Thanks to Rashid for trusting me,” said Naib.

The win for Afghanistan has now opened up Group 1 as they could make it to the semi-finals at the expense of the Aussies. Naib felt that they have been playing good cricket since the ODI World Cup last year and believes their journey in the tournament is set to begin.

“This was a complete team effort. The way Naveen bowled, the way Gurbaz and Ibrahim batted. We beat Australia at last! It is a great achievement for Afghanistan cricket, our history isn’t too much so this is a great achievement. We played great cricket in the last World Cup, and this year we beat New Zealand in the group stage. Our journey starts now. We have great management and I’m very fortunate to have this team. Every game is important, we will rest tomorrow and think about it,” said Naib.

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