T20 World Cup: Rashid says He's proud of his team after securing an SF berth

Afghanistan’s captain Rashid Khan and his team have finally delivered for the nation, defeating Bangladesh in a gripping Super Eight match to advance to their first-ever T20 World Cup semi-final.

Afghanistan has made it to the semifinals of the ICC men’s competition for the first time, having defeated Australia in the Super Eight and New Zealand in the group stage. Afghanistan shocked Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and England in the previous year’s ODI World Cup in India, but they were unable to advance past the semifinals.

When asked about the victory, Rashid stated it was a “dream come true” and that he was really pleased of his teammates for writing the team’s history. As a squad, being in the semifinals is almost like a dream come true. It all comes down to how we launched the competition. When we defeated New Zealand, the belief emerged. It’s so incredible that words cannot express how I feel. Everyone at home is ecstatic about this significant accomplishment.

“We proved that Brian Lara was the only person who correctly predicted our semifinal spot. I assured him, before to the competition at the welcoming party, “We won’t let you down.” We’ll overcome and show you’re mistaken. I’m proud of this team,” Rashid said in the post-match interaction.

Rain caused the target to be changed to 114 in 19 overs, but Rashid and Naveen-ul-Haq each claimed four wickets to bundle out Bangladesh for 105 in 17.5 overs, despite establishing a modest score of 115 in 20 overs in the match.

Although Rashid acknowledged that they fell 20 runs short of the target, they gave it their all on the field and committed to their game plan. “We felt a good total on this wicket was between 130 and 135.” We were behind by fifteen to twenty runs. It all came down to mindset. We anticipated a strong challenge from them to reach the semifinals by chasing that total in 12 overs. Here’s where we could get lucky. Bowling into the stumps gave us a better opportunity.

We didn’t need to take any more action. All we had to do was lay out our plans clearly. We exert ourselves; that is under our control. Rain, the outcome is beyond our control. We always have the ability to give it our best,” the all-around player stated.

“Everyone performed brilliantly. We have a solid foundation in T20s, particularly in bowling. Our rapid bowling is not as good as theirs, but they are more proficient. Possessing skills makes you more effective in T20s. They have made excellent starts in this World Cup so far, and in the middle, when we can hit the batsmen hard, it gets easy for us, the spinners.

“I’m really pleased with how they provided. It’s quite satisfying that they have such clarity in their thinking. Rain came down in patches, but we were there in spirit all the while. There is only one route to get to the semifinals: we have to play 20 overs and take 10 wickets. I believe Gulbadin had some cramps; hopefully, he will be okay. For us, that wicket he took was crucial,” Rashid remarked.

Rashid admitted that celebrations for Afghanistan’s historic achievement will continue, stating that the players and spectators there were emotional upon their semifinal entry. The scenes at Arnos Vale Ground in Kingstown were full of excitement and emotions.

“Now, there is a huge party at home. For us, it’s a significant victory. We achieved that in the semifinals of the Under-19 competition. But when it comes to this World Cup… I’m at a loss for words. The nation will be really pleased. I’m delighted with how well our team performed. We assumed the accountability. It’s big to be in the semifinals, so we need to go into this with clarity. “We need to maintain a low key and ensure that we relish this momentous occasion,” he said in closing.

On Thursday morning (6:00 am IST), Afghanistan and South Africa will play in the inaugural T20 World Cup semi-final at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago.

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