Naveen-ul-Haq produced a match-winning spell to help Afghanistan beat Bangladesh in their final Super 8 match of the T20 World Cup 2024 on Tuesday and qualify for the semi-finals.

This is the first time that Afghanistan have made it to the last four of an ICC World Cup event, stunningly, at the expense of former champions Australia.

Afghanistan will now meet South Africa at the Brian Lara Stadium in Trinidad on Thursday.

Against Bangladesh, Naveen bowled a spell of 4/26 in 3.5 overs to help Afghanistan register a thrilling eight-run win at the Arnos Vale Ground in Saint Vincent. 

Opting to bat first, Afghanistan struggled to set the pace as they could manage only 115/5 in 20 overs. Rahmanullah Gurbaz top-scored with 43 off 55 balls. 

Afghanistan skipper Rashid Khan’s late cameo, where he hit three sixes in his 10-ball 19, carried the team to a fighting total. 

Naveen then gave Afghanistan a perfect start as he struck a double blow in his second over to reduce Bangladesh to 23/3. Our pacer first outfoxed the Bangladesh skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto with a slower delivery and got him caught at the deep. 

On the very next ball, Naveen sent back the experienced Shakib Al Hasan for a golden duck with a quick return catch. Afghanistan were back in the game with Naveen’s early dismissals.

Rashid picked up four wickets in his first three overs as Bangladesh slid to 80/7. Rashid ended with a magical spell of 4/23 in his four overs.

Meanwhile, frequent showers forced the target to be reduced to 114 from 19 overs. Naveen was back for his final over with Bangladesh needing 12 from 12 balls. It started drizzling and Bangladesh were ahead of the par score.

The only way Afghanistan could push the par score beyond Bangladesh was to take another wicket. Naveen did just that, castling Taskin Ahmed with a clever slower delivery. 

Naveen went a step ahead and ensured that there would be no further calculations as he trapped last-man Mustafizur Rahman plumb in front, for his fourth wicket, to trigger wild celebrations on and off the field.

Naveen’s stellar performance continues from the IPL 2024 season, where he picked up 14 wickets in 10 matches at an average of 26.57.

We wish Naveen and the Afghan team all the best for the semifinal against the mighty South Africa!