T20 WC: Afghans winning does not surprise Australian Khawaja

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 24, 2024 IST

Afghanistan Team

New Delhi, June 24: Afghanistan winning against formidable Australians in their Super Eight clash of the ICC T20 World Cup 2024 has surprised many. The semi-finals race in Group 1 has also become more intense.

But Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja is not shocked at all. He rather believes that the Asian fighters (Afghanistan) should have beaten Australia in the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 as well.

 It was injured Glenn Maxwell's unbeaten heroic double century knock that resulted in Australia's unexpected victory against the Afghans in the ODI World Cup match last year.

But in the ongoing ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024, the Afghans did not give away the Aussies any scope to bounce back and posted a historic win.

Gulbadin Naib's four-wicket haul after Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran's opening stand of 118, Afghanistan stunned Australia by 21 runs and secured their first-ever win over the cricketing powerhouse.

"Afghanistan is a very strong team. They probably should have won against us in the last World Cup too," Khawaja said at the Prime's cafe launch in Melbourne.

Reflecting on Australia's loss to Afghanistan, Khawaja urged the team to move past the defeat and focus on the next challenge. He underscored the significance of the match against India, considering both teams to be the best in the world. "We still have a chance, we need to beat India. When the pressure is on in the World Cup, Australia usually comes out on top," he asserted.

For Australia, things are dire after being at two points and their net run rate going down to +0.223 after a shock defeat to Afghanistan. India's win against Australia will seal a semi-final berth for Men in Blue while a loss would make Australia dependent on the result of the Afghanistan vs Bangladesh match on Tuesday.

Khawaja also emphasised the critical nature of the upcoming game against India, labeling it as a "do or die" scenario for Australia. He expressed confidence in the team's process-oriented approach under Mitchell Starc and Andrew McDonald. "It's very human to be nervous and a little more anxious, but Australia has played very good T20 cricket up until Afghanistan. That's the beauty of T20 cricket; it just needs one moment to change the whole scenario," Khawaja noted.

Khawaja also shared his love for T20 cricket, praising its ability to engage a broader community. He observed that the format has attracted more girls and mothers to the sport over the past decade. "You would have never thought USA would be in the Super Eight," he added, highlighting the growing global reach of T20 cricket.

Though unlikely, but an Australian player, who still features in the red-ball format of the national team, openly lavishing praise on the Afghans for beating the Australian side in a T20 World Cup is likely to surprise many. (With IANS support)

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