NEW DELHI: Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar heaped praise on the Rashid Khan-led Afghanistan side following their historic T20 World Cup win over Australia on Saturday.
In a video posted on his ‘X’ handle, Akhtar used a vivid analogy to illustrate Afghanistan’s remarkable achievement. He said, “Woh kehete hain na hathi sher se 100x badha hota hain aur 80x samajhadaar hota hain (They say an elephant is 100 times bigger than a lion and 80 times smarter, but when it comes to Afghan lions), they took the elephant as their lunch.They ate them. So, attitude matters a lot. Today, Afghanistan not only got their revenge but also showed great intent. And what excellent leadership was displayed by Rashid Khan. They say leadership is 80 percent mentality, 20 percent skill. That’s the reason they were able to take down such a big elephant for lunch.”

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“And as for the mighty Australia, whom no one can defeat, who plays the best World Cup cricket – agreed, no one can play the World Cup better than you, but you were up against one of the toughest opponents whose attitude was like lions,” the former pacer added.

Gulbadin Naib emerged as Afghanistan’s hero, claiming four wickets for 20 runs in his four overs of medium pace. His crucial spell, which included the dismissal of Glenn Maxwell, who had scored 59 off 41 balls, turned the match in Afghanistan’s favour. Australia, chasing a target of 149, were eventually bowled out for 127, suffering their first-ever defeat to Afghanistan in a senior international match.
Earlier in the match, Afghanistan’s opening pair of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran had laid a solid foundation with a century stand. Gurbaz top-scored with 60 off 49 balls, while Zadran contributed 51 off 48 balls. However, Pat Cummins claimed his second hat-trick in consecutive matches, helping to restrict Afghanistan to a total of 148 for six.
Despite the late collapse, Afghanistan’s bowlers, led by Gulbadin, defended the total successfully, keeping their hopes of a semi-final spot alive in the tournament.