Afghanistan were a whisker away from boosting their Cricket World Cup semi-finals hopes, but Australia’s Glenn Maxwell won the game single-handedly for Australia. Chasing a target of 292, Australia were 91/7 at one stage. They were so close, yet so far as Maxwell hit an unbeaten 201 to pull off one of the most unbelievable run-chases in the history of the tournament. Maxwell stitiched an unbeaten 202-run partnership with captain Pat Cummins, who scored just 12 runs off 68 balls during the epic stand.
Riddled by severe cramps, Maxwell was barely able to walk as he limped between the wickets, scoring 144 of his 201 runs with the help of 21 fours and 10 sixes.
Maxwell said his entire body was in pain and that he almost retired while batting on 147 and with 55 runs still needed to win. However, he stood there right till the end and took Australia to the semi-final of the tournament.
For Australia, this was their sixth win on the trot, having lost the first two.
On the other hand, Afghanistan’s three-match winning streak came to an end, leaving them with a whole lot to do in their final group game against South Africa.
How can Afghanistan qualify for the semi-finals?
With two other teams — New Zealand and Pakistan — still in contention for the final semi-finals slot, a win over the already-qualified Proteas may not be enough to take them to the next round.
Pakistan and Afghanistan all have eight points so far from as many games, but New Zealand are ahead, both on points and net run-rate.
Given their inferior run-rate to Pakistan and Afghanistan need to record gigantic wins in order to qualify for semi-finals.
Notably, Pakistan face England on Saturday, November 11 while Afghanistan take on South Africa on Friday. Afghanistan’s NRR sits at -0.338 while New Zealand’s is at +0.743. Afghanistan don’t just need to beat South Africa in their next match but also take their NRR over the Kiwis, which looks all but impossible.
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