T20 CRICKET WORLD CUP: Afghanistan’s Gulbadin Naib injury antics overshadow historic win

Oliver CaffreyAAP
Gulbadin Naib goes down.
Camera IconGulbadin Naib goes down. Credit: Supplied

Afghanistan’s biggest cricket win has come in dramatic, chaotic scenes well after midnight in the Caribbean.

Progressing to their first World Cup semi-final, the Afghans defeated Bangladesh in a match that had everything.

The country, which has been under Taliban control since August 2021, knocked out powerhouse Australia, whom they upset two days earlier in the process.

Because of the country’s political and related-societal situation, Afghanistan’s bid to play bilateral series against Australia has been consistently denied during the past three years.

Play was stopped six times due to rain before Afghanistan could complete a historic eight-run win on Duckworth-Lewis in Kingstown.

Incredibly, just one over was lost despite the teams leaving the field every few overs during Bangladesh’s chase of Afghanistan’s modest 5-115.

Just before the last rain delay, Gulbadin Naib comically faked a hamstring injury to waste time to aid Afghanistan and was laughed at by commentators and fans alike.

Afghanistan coach Jonathan Trott frantically signaled to his players to slow the game down so Naib waved back at him before clutching his hamstring and falling to the ground while at first slip.

The ploy worked as the rain began to pour and Afghan skipper Rashid Khan urged his teammate to get up.

However, Naib stayed down long enough for the covers to come on as he was helped off the field.

“One of the most severe hamstring injuries I’ve ever seen on video here. Really hope he’s OK,” X account NRL physio asked.

After Naib’s obvious antics, he returned to the field and bowled a crucial two overs to take 1-5, then enthusiastically taking part in the celebrations.

Once Australia lost to India earlier in the day, Afghanistan only needed to beat Bangladesh to be assured of a historic semi-final berth.

Bangladesh were also still in contention to progress, but they had to win with more than 45 balls to spare.

Surprisingly, the Tigers aborted their push to reach the semi-finals early as wickets fell, instead choosing to simply win the match and try to deny Afghanistan.

Bangladesh opener Litton Das threatened to cruel Afghanistan’s dream, carrying his bat with an unbeaten 54 in the Tigers’ total of 105 chasing a revised target of 114.

But Das’ heroics were not enough as Khan - a hero in the Big Bash League for the Adelaide Strikers - decimated the Tigers with 4-23.

Afghanistan will face off in the Twenty20 World Cup semi-final against South Africa, who have a habit of making the final four and losing in painstaking fashion.

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