In the 39th match of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, a remarkable and unexpected cricket encounter unfolded between Afghanistan and Australia at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on November 7. Australia aimed to secure a semi-final spot with a win, while Afghanistan needed a victory to keep their semi-final hopes alive.
Afghanistan, led by captain Hasmatullah Shahidi, won the toss and chose to bat. Their openers, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran, set a strong foundation. With consistent batting, Afghanistan reached 100 runs in 20.2 overs. An impressive partnership between Rahmat Shah and Ibrahim Zadran added 58 runs for the second wicket.
Ibrahim Zadran made history by becoming the first Afghan player to score a World Cup century, an extraordinary achievement against Australia. With late explosive batting from Rashid Khan, Afghanistan posted a total of 291 runs.
Australia’s chase got off to a shaky start, losing Travis Head without scoring. Mitchell Marsh’s aggressive innings also ended quickly. Azmat Omarzai took crucial wickets, dismissing David Warner and Josh Inglis consecutively, leaving Australia struggling at 49 for four.
Subsequently, Labuschagne, Stoinis, and Starc were also dismissed. However, Glenn Maxwell played a match-winning innings with an astonishing 201 not out, leading Australia to an improbable victory and dashing Afghanistan’s hopes. Cricket pundits praised it as one of the best knocks in white-ball cricket history.
Despite this loss, Afghanistan’s dream of reaching the World Cup 2023 semi-finals remains alive.
To qualify for the semi-finals, Afghanistan needs to win their next match against South Africa on November 10 in Ahmedabad. Winning alone might not be enough because they have a lower run rate than Pakistan and New Zealand. To secure a semi-final spot, Afghanistan must win by a significant margin against South Africa and hope that both New Zealand and Pakistan lose their upcoming matches.
The remaining matches for the teams are as follows:
- Afghanistan vs South Africa on November 10 in Ahmedabad.
- New Zealand vs Sri Lanka on November 9 in Bangalore.
- Pakistan vs England on November 11 in Kolkata.