Australia, a five-time champion, was well-prepared to confront Afghanistan’s world-class spin attack, featuring renowned spinners like Rashid Khan, Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman, and Noor Ahmad. Additionally, Australia aimed to limit Afghanistan’s batters to a modest total. Afghanistan’s batting performance exceeded expectations in the tournament, with players like Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Hashmatullah Shahidi, and Rahmat Shah delivering strong performances.
Crucial match for both Australia & Afghanistan
The match between Australia and Afghanistan was crucial for both teams, as they were competing for a spot in the semifinals. With India and South Africa already securing their places in the top four, two spots were up for grabs. Australia won five matches in the tournament, while Afghanistan registered four impressive victories, including wins against former world champions England, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
Upper hand for Australia
Australia had a straightforward equation for securing a spot in the semifinals. A victory against Afghanistan, regardless of the margin, would secure their place. Sitting at the third spot with five wins and 10 points in seven matches, a win against Afghanistan would take Australia to 12 points. No team below Australia could reach 12 points, making the situation clear for Australia. If they won both of their remaining matches, they could even finish above South Africa with 14 points. However, if Australia lost both games, they would have to compete for the fourth spot with Pakistan, New Zealand, and Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s chances for qualification
Afghanistan, with four wins and three losses in seven matches, had the opportunity to secure a spot in the semifinals by winning both of their remaining matches or at least one of them. Two wins would take them to 12 points, and one win would give them 10 points. If they managed to secure a single win, they would also require favorable outcomes from other teams.
What numbers say
If they finished with 10 points, losses for both New Zealand and Pakistan would confirm their place in the semifinals. If they lost both games and either Pakistan or New Zealand won their last match, it would end Afghanistan’s chances of advancing. In such cases, net run rate (NRR) would become a crucial factor in determining the semifinalists.