Is this Afghanistan’s 1983 moment?

Afghanistan after win vs Australia in ICC T20 WC 2024
Afghanistan after win vs Australia in ICC T20 WC 2024 (PC: X)

Some days back, I had done a piece saying this ICC T20 World Cup could be Afghanistan’s 1983 moment. Many laughed at it and said I was trying to sensationalise. That I was saying things which aren’t really possible. There’s no way Afghanistan had a chance and it was all big talk. The match against India did not go to plan and the naysayers were strengthened. Jibes were par and Rashid Khan and his team had let themselves down. Not today. Not anymore. Never again.

Beating Australia in a World Cup is the biggest win in Afghanistan’s cricket history. And the fielding, more than anything else, showed how committed they were. Each one was flying around and the intensity was palpable. Rashid led from the front with the ball and made sure every player was charged up. Gulbadin was an inspired bowling change and he did bulk of the damage. Most importantly it was the self-belief. You just don’t beat Australia with skill. You need to win it in the mind as well. That’s where you need to believe that it can be done, that Australia can be beaten. Yes, in World Cups as well. That’s what Afghanistan did. They kept pushing. I am sure the spectre of Glen Maxwell’s 201 did come to haunt them when he was going and going well. But at no point did the Afghanistan boys give up. And they were rewarded. The gods couldn’t deny them this time.

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\What this crazy win does is open up the group. India are all but through to the semi-finals with a fantastic NRR (net run rate). Australia need to beat India on Monday to get back into contention. A positive NRR has given them the advantage. Just a win against India should suffice. But then, Afghanistan will believe anything is possible after this win. Against Bangladesh, they will come hard and will do all to win big. So, everything is possible from here on and the World Cup, which was to an extent boring, has finally come alive.

It is the night of the underdog and the perfect underdog story in many ways. Well played Afghanistan and yes it could well be their 1983 moment.

Also Read: Could this T20 World Cup be Afghanistan’s 1983?