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48th Match, Super Eights, Group 1 (N), Kingstown, June 22, 2024, ICC Men's T20 World Cup
(19.2/20 ov, T:149) 127

Afghanistan won by 21 runs

Player Of The Match
Cricinfo's MVP
104.16 ptsImpact List

Maxwell in focus as Afghanistan await Australia in spin-friendly Kingstown

Another defeat would put Afghanistan on brink of elimination, while victory for Australia would set them up beautifully for a semi-final spot

Deivarayan Muthu

Match details

Afghanistan vs Australia
Kingstown, 8.30pm local time

Big Picture: All eyes on Glenn Maxwell

The last time Australia faced Afghanistan, history was made. A cramping Glenn Maxwell was writhing in pain - he could barely walk, let alone run - but pulled off a miracle in Mumbai. They were struggling at 91 for 7 in pursuit of 293, but Maxwell's epic double-hundred put Australia back on track for another world title and left Afghanistan on the brink of elimination.
Maxwell then endured a difficult IPL with Royal Challengers Bengaluru, where he even took a break. He started the T20 World Cup with a duck against Oman and then laboured to 28 off 25 balls against England. He was bowled cheaply by a ripper from Mark Watt in the chase against Scotland, but in the chase against Bangladesh, he showed signs of his best, though he faced only six balls in a rain-hit fixture. He swatted legspinner Rishad Hossain over long-on and crunched Mustafizur Rahman through the covers. Maxwell finished with 14 off six balls at a strike rate of 233.33. Australia will hope that Maxwell, the spin-hitter, can produce an even bigger impact against Rashid Khan and co. on a Kingstown pitch that has been conducive to spin.
Though Maxwell is yet to hit full tilt, Australia's middle order (between Nos. 4-7) has struck at 168.09, the best among all 20 teams in this T20 World Cup. In contrast, Afghanistan's middle order has struck at less than 100 - the lowest among all Full-Member teams in this tournament. Adam Zampa and potentially Ashton Agar could make life even more difficult for the Afghanistan middle-order batters in Kingstown.
This game will be played in the backdrop of some tension between the two boards. Cricket Australia has refused to play Afghanistan in bilateral series in the recent past because of political reasons. Australia's decision to pull out of multiple bilateral series against Afghanistan has met fierce condemnation, including a threat from Rashid Khan to pull out of the BBL. Afghanistan's players will be out to prove a point about their standing in the global game when they take Australia on in a third World Cup game in three years.

Form guide

Afghanistan LLWWW (last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
Australia WWWWW

In the spotlight: Naveen-ul-Haq and Tim David

Naveen-ul-Haq has taken some pasting in the Caribbean leg of the T20 World Cup, but he is Afghanistan's best bet to counter Australia's power-packed line-up at the death. He can bowl yorkers from a slingy action and has several slower variations, including the knuckle ball, tailor-made for the low bounce in St Vincent. Naveen has a chance to add to those variations by working with Dwayne Bravo at Afghanistan and Texas Super Kings in the upcoming MLC.
Naveen, though, will have to be wary of Tim David, who has taken him for 50 off 38 balls in T20 cricket without being dismissed. David also has a good head-to-head record against Rashid - 62 off 45 balls with just two dismissals - and has been working on his own spin bowling though Australia haven't needed his secondary skill in the T20 World Cup proper. If David doesn't get you, Marcus Stoinis will. If Stoinis doesn't get you, Maxwell will.

Team news: Will Australia bring back Agar?

Hazratullah Zazai fell cheaply against India, but Afghanistan will likely give him another go.
Afghanistan (probable): 1 Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), 2 Hazratullah Zazai, 3 Ibrahim Zadran, 4 Gulbadin Naib, 5 Azmatullah Omarzai, 6 Najibullah Zadran, 7 Mohammad Nabi, 8 Rashid Khan (capt), 9 Naveen-ul-Haq, 10 Noor Ahmad, 11 Fazalhaq Farooqi
Considering the slow, turning tracks in Kingstown and Afghanistan's right-hand heavy line-up, Australia might bring back left-arm fingerspinner Agar, instead of one of the three frontline quicks, and pair him up with Zampa and Maxwell.
Australia (probable): 1 David Warner, 2 Travis Head, 3 Mitchell Marsh (capt), 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Tim David, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Josh Hazlewood/Ashton Agar, 11 Adam Zampa

Pitch and conditions: Spin to win

Spinners have thrived in Kingstown, picking up 22 wickets at an economy rate of 5.64 in six innings this tournament. Expect more of the same when two of the world's best T20 wristspinners Rashid and Zampa will be in action on Saturday night. Chances of rain are low on Saturday evening.

Stats and trivia: Farooqi dominates powerplay

  • Agar has dismissed Nabi twice in ten balls while conceding just four runs in T20 cricket. He is one wicket away from becoming the second Australia spinner, after Zampa, to 50 T20I wickets.
  • Farooqi has bagged 15 wickets in this T20 World Cup at an economy rate of 5.45. Eight of those 15 wickets have come in the powerplay, the most by a bowler during this phase in the tournament.
  • Travis Head, David and Stoinis have hit 129 sixes among them in T20 cricket this year.
  • Quotes

    "I think there are a few players who are very early in their international careers and they will learn from it. And World Cup is always the biggest stage when you're playing against the biggest team as well."
    Rashid Khan on the Afghanistan youngsters
    "Yeah, it was nice to get out there and hit a couple, but I've said it pretty consistently. I felt pretty good throughout the whole tournament."
    Glenn Maxwell on his cameo against Bangladesh

    Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

    Win Probability
    AFG 100%
    100%50%100%AFG InningsAUS Innings

    Over 20 • AUS 127/10

    Adam Zampa c Mohammad Nabi b Azmatullah Omarzai 9 (7b 1x4 0x6 15m) SR: 128.57
    Afghanistan won by 21 runs
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    ICC Men's T20 World Cup

    Super Eights, Group 1
    Super Eights, Group 2
    Group A
    Group B
    Group C
    Group D