Following his side`s 21-run win over Australia in the Super Eights of T20 World Cup 2024, Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan opened up on postponed bilateral series between the two nations, saying that there is nothing players can do about it and he only wishes that there was any kind of solutions for it.

After Afghanistan recorded a memorable win against Australia with the opening pair of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran and all-rounder Gulbadin Naib shining, the topic of bilateral series between these two nations has once again picked up momentum.

Earlier this year, Cricket Australia had decided to postpone a three-match T20I series against Afghanistan due to a “marked deterioration in human rights for women and girls” in the country” under Taliban rule. Also, CA had decided against hosting a one-off Test for the rising Asian side due to the same reason.

Speaking after the game in the post-match press conference, Rashid said on the bilateral series between both the sides, “Well, we are sportsmen, and we love sports. People back home love sports. As I mentioned earlier, cricket is the only source of happiness back home. That`s the only source left in Afghanistan where people could celebrate. And if we keep that source away from us, I don`t know where Afghanistan will remain.”

“We sportsmen only think about cricket. Everyone is saying sports bring the nation together and bring everyone together. So, for me, we are always happy to play against any side, and that is the only way where our cricket can improve day by day. Some things which are not under the control of anyone in cricket, and that is something we cannot do anything about it. Wish we could do something, and wish that was a kind of solution for it, we would have been happy, but I do not know what`s the solution for that,” he added.

Also Read: Near-perfect India could play party poopers to under pressure Aussies

Coming to the match, Australia won the toss and opted to bowl first. An 118-run stand between Rahmanullah Gurbaz (60 in 49 balls, with four boundaries and four sixes) and Ibrahim Zadran (51 in 48 balls, with six fours) helped Afghanistan get a fine start.

However, some tight bowling from Australia, including another hat trick by Pat Cummins (3/28) and a fine spell from Adam Zampa (2/28) took Afghanistan to 148/6 in their 20 overs.

During the run-chase, Australia was reduced to 32/3 at one point, with a fine spell by Naveen ul Haq (3/20). All-rounder Glenn Maxwell (59 in 41 balls, with six fours and three sixes) held one end steady, but Gulbadin (4/20) took some crucial wickets that put Australia on the back foot.

Australia was skittled out for 127 runs in 19.2 overs and faced their first-ever loss to Afghanistan in international cricket.

Naib earned the `Player of the Match` award for his match-winning spell which included wickets of Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David and Cummins.

Now with a win and loss, Afghanistan sits at number third in their Group 1 while Australia sits at number two with the same win-loss ratio. Both teams have two points each. If India wins their final Super Eights game against Australia on Monday and Afghanistan beats Bangladesh by a big margin as well, the current 50-over and Test champions would be out of the T20 World Cup 2024. 

(With agency inputs)