"We Put Ourselves In This Position": Matthew Wade On Possible T20 World Cup Exit
Australia's stand-in captain Matthew Wade hoped the slow start to their title defence at the T20 World Cup doesn't come back to haunt them
Australia's stand-in captain Matthew Wade hoped the slow start to their title defence at the T20 World Cup doesn't come back to haunt them as their semifinal hopes hinge on the outcome of the clash between England and Sri Lanka on Saturday. Australia on Friday kept their slim hopes of reaching the knockout stage alive with a narrow four-run win over Afghanistan in their last Super 12 match, which saw them move to the second spot in the points table, behind New Zealand.
England, who are currently placed at third spot, will face Sri Lanka on Saturday, with a win sealing a semifinal spot. Australia will qualify for the semifinals if Sri Lanka emerge victorious against England.
"We will stay here tonight and watch the game tomorrow, we will be hoping for an upset. We put ourselves in this position from the get-go, we have been slow in this tournament and hopefully it doesn't cost us," Wade said during the post-match presentation on Friday.
Australia survived a mighty scare after Rashid Khan conjured up hopes of an upset with a sensational 23-ball 48.
Needing 22 off the last over bowled by Marcus Stoinis, Rashid managed to hit the bowler for two fours and one six but it was not enough in the end.
"We gave Stoinis the last over, to have an all-rounder to bowl the last over is pretty nerve-wracking. I played him in IPL and I have seen him do it for 3-4 times. But never felt entirely sure at any point," Wade said.
Chasing 169 to win, Afghanistan slipped from 99 for 2 to 99 for 5 in 13.4 overs.
Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi blamed the loss of key wickets in the middle overs for the defeat.
"Really good game of cricket, they started really well, at the end Farooqi bowled well. The way we started in the powerplay and in the middle, but we throw away that four wickets in the middle under pressure," he said.
"It's really tough to play a game and then don't play for 10 days. We did not get any momentum at all through this tournament. Day by day we improve and today was a fantastic game for us." Glenn Maxwell, who was adjudged the Player of the Match for his 32-ball 54, admitted that Rashid's clean hitting gave his side a scare.
"Afghanistan played really well, they struck the ball really cleanly. At the start, they put us under pressure in the powerplay. We were able to hold them back but then there was some pretty clean hitting towards the back end and gave us a bit of a scare.
"It was nice to have an impact in the field. I knew I wasn't going to have much of an impact with the ball with the conditions they were. To have an impact is nice." Maxwell also lauded the Afghan spinners for keeping things tight.
"During the day, it was quite slow and taking spin, it was holding up a little bit. It was quite hard to press the issue. We got to about the 12th over mark where we just had to put a total on the board to make sure we gave ourselves a chance of winning the game.
"Even though we were trying to go hard, they bowled extremely well in the last four overs. They executed their plans and it was hard to get away."