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Naib after historic win: 'Thank god we at last beat Australia'

Captain Rashid Khan said a World Cup victory over Australia was something they had missed in the last two years

Gulbadin Naib is carried on his shoulders by Afghanistan's bowling coach Hamid Hassan, Afghanistan vs Australia, T20 World Cup, Super Eight, Group 1, Kingstown, June 22, 2024

Gulbadin Naib is carried on his shoulders by Afghanistan's bowling coach Hamid Hassan  •  ICC/Getty Images

Gulbadin Naib, who orchestrated Afghanistan's historic win against Australia, was a figure of relief when he collected his Player-of-the-Match award for his spell of 4 for 20. Drenched in sweat while sporting a beaming smile, he held the award while soaking in the feeling of "at last" beating Australia.
"We were waiting [for this] for a long time. It's a great moment not just for me but for my nation and my people," Naib said at the presentation. "[It is a] big achievement for our cricket. I have no words to say but thanks to the fans for supporting our career and cricket journey. It's a great teamwork, we worked hard for the last two months and the result is in front of you.
"Thank god we at last beat Australia. It's a great achievement for our cricket in Afghanistan. If you look at history of our cricket, it is not much. Last 10 years, we achieved a lot of goals. This is a big achievement."
Australia's fourth-wicket pair of Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell were threatening to take the match away from Afghanistan in the 149 chase, when captain Rashid Khan turned to Naib for his eighth bowling option. Naib picked a wicket off his third delivery, removing Stoinis for 11. Bowling four overs straight, he then dismissed Tim David in this next over and then got the prized wicket of Maxwell, for 59, in the 14th to all but end Australia's hopes.
Naib thanked Rashid for trusting him in the crunch moments of the game and further said Afghanistan's "journey starts now".
The win was sweeter for Afghanistan, who dealt with a heartbreak against the same opponents at the ODI World Cup last year. With Australia on 91 for 7, a one-legged Maxwell, battling severe cramps, took them to a stunning win with an unbeaten double-century.
Naib expressed relief at the result in Kingstown that opened up Super Eight Group 1 standings.
"We played very good cricket and in the first round we beat New Zealand," he said. "Then [to beat] Australia is not easy. They are a world champion team and it is a big achievement for our cricket. We can carry this to the next level.
"Our journey starts now. We are very lucky to have such a staff and management."

Rashid Khan: 'It's something we missed in last two years'

After being asked to bat, Afghanistan were given a strong platform with an opening stand of 118 between Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran before they lost 6 for 23 with Pat Cummins picking up yet another hat-trick. Afghanistan were only able to post 148 for 6.
Rashid said they were confident of defending anything over 130, adding the importance of having many allrounders in the team.
"The thought was although we didn't finish as well as we would have liked to, but this is how this wicket is," Rashid said at the presentation. "The more important thing was that the opening partnership gave us the best start. That let us get to a total we had in mind. We all watched two games before, and on this wicket anything 130-plus we said we were capable of defending. We keep calm and have that belief.
"The beauty of this team is having too many allrounders gives you options. As a captain, it makes it easy."
Beating Australia is a "great feeling" and will make Afghanistan fans "proud", Rashid said.
"It's a massive win for us as a team and as a nation," he said. "In the World Cup, beating champions is a great feeling. It's something we missed in last two years - in 2023 World Cup and also in 2022 in Australia where we lacked some runs.
"It is so much important for people at home and for everyone all over the world where Afghans are there. They were badly missing this win. I am sure they would be proud of this and would have enjoyed the game. It is just the beginning for us, big game next and we have all the chances of making the semis."