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Semi-final ‘like a dream’ for Afghanistan says Captain Rashid

  • Semi-final ‘like a dream’ for Afghanistan says Captain Rashid.

Captain Rashid Khan says Afghanistan qualifying for the T20 World Cup semi-finals is “like a dream”.

Victory in a low-scoring thriller against Bangladesh saw Afghanistan make it through to the last four of an ICC global tournament for the first time.

The result also means Australia have been knocked out.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Rashid. “Back home everyone is so, so happy for us.

“It’s like a dream for us to be in a semi-final.”

Afghanistan’s rise has been remarkable after they became an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2001.

They only gained Full Member status in 2017 and seven years on will play for the chance to compete in their first final when they face South Africa in Trinidad on Thursday (01:30 BST).

“We had to push ourselves for the people back home, for their happiness and to make the country proud,” Rashid, 25, added.

“It is a massive celebration back home now, I’m sure. It is a big achievement for us.

“I’m so happy with the way we have delivered as a team. We have to go in [to the semi-final] with a very clear mind, keep things simple for ourselves and make sure we enjoy it.”

Rashid played a starring role in the victory over Bangladesh, hitting three sixes in a vital late cameo to lift Afghanistan to 115-5.

The leg-spinner then took 4-23 with the ball to keep his side in contention defending such a low total.

An incredibly tense match still went down to the wire but, with Bangladesh edging towards a victory that would have sent Australia through, two wickets in two balls from fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq got Afghanistan over the line.

“We have worked so hard over the last few years, we were working for this day,” said Naveen, who ended with figures of 4-26.

“When you see this day coming and it happens, it’s surreal. I’m lost for words.”

The second semi-final sees India take on defending champions England in Guyana on Thursday afternoon (15:30 BST).

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