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T20 World Cup, AUS vs AFG: Australia avoid Afghanistan scare to keep semifinal hopes alive

image-la2ctpkqAustralia players celebrating a dismissal [Source: AP]

Riding on Glenn Maxwell's scintillating fifty and a superb collective effort from the bowlers, Australia handed Afghanistan a narrow four-run defeat in their final Super 12 fixture in Adelaide. The hosts keep their semifinal qualification hopes alive with this much-needed victory. 

Glenn Maxwell storm powers Australia to 168

After being put into bat, Australia got off to a poor start, losing Cameron Green to Fazalhaq Farooqi in the third over. Although David Warner and Mitchell Marsh scored quick 28 runs, Naveen-ul-Haq removed the former to restore parity in the contest. 

Steve Smith could manage a run-a-ball 4 in his first World Cup game before being trapped in front of the stumps by Naveen-ul-Haq. 

image-la2cms1gGlenn Maxwell slammed a fine fifty [Source: AP]

After playing a fabulous knock of 45 runs, Mitchell Marsh was dismissed by Mujeeb in the eleventh over. However, things started going uphill for Australia with the arrival of Glenn Maxwell. The swashbuckling all-rounder hammered six fours and two sixes on his way through to a glorious 32-ball 54*, ensuring a fitting finish for the hosts. Marcus Stoinis played yet another valuable knock, contributing 25 runs off 21 deliveries. 

Naveen-ul-Haq stood out with the ball for Afghanistan, scalping three wickets for 21 runs in his four overs. 

Afghanistan fall short despite Rashid Khan's late blitz

Just like their opponents, Afghanistan began their innings disastrously, losing Usman Ghani to Josh Hazlewood in the third over. Despite getting a great start, Rahmanullah Gurbaz couldn't carry it forward, being dismissed by Kane Richardson for 30 in the sixth over. 

image-la2fd8wlRashid Khan nearly won it for Afghanistan [Source: AP]

However, Ibrahim Zadran and Gulbadin Naib kept Afghanistan's hopes alive, stitching a brilliant 59-run stand for the third wicket. But the fourteenth over, which saw Naib being run out and Ibrahim and Najibullah falling prey to Adam Zampa's guile, instantly brought Australia back into the match. 

If that was not enough, Josh Hazlewood got rid of Mohammad Nabi to hit the final nail in the coffin. Although Rashid Khan wreaked havoc in the Australian camp through a quick-fire 23-ball 48*, his valiants efforts went in vain, as Afghanistan were restricted to 164 in 20 overs. 

Brief Scores

Australia: 168/8 (20)
Glenn Maxwell 54* (32), Mitchell Marsh 45 (30);
Naveen-ul-Haq 3/21 (4), Fazalhaq Farooqi 2/29 (4)

Afghanistan: 164/7 (20)
Rashid Khan 48* (23), Gulbadin Naib 39 (23); 
Adam Zampa 2/22 (4), Josh Hazlewood 2/33 (4)

Australia won by four runs. 

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