Rashid Khan of Afghanistan celebrates with teammates after running out Chad Soper Papua New Guinea (not pictured) during the ICC Men's T20 Cricket World Cup West Indies & USA 2024 match between Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea at Brian Lara Cricket Academy on June 13, 2024 in Tarouba, Trinidad And Tobago.

Afghanistan beat Papua New Guinea by seven wickets in a T20 World Cup 2024 Group C fixture to seal their maiden Super Eights spot on Thursday (June 13).

An all-round bowling effort set up the match for Afghanistan, but it wasn’t entirely smooth sailing for the chasing team on a tricky Tarouba wicket. 

Bowling first, Afghanistan got their first breakthrough in the second over of the day when a half-hearted attempt to run from captain PNG Assad Vala found him short of his crease.

Fazalhaq Farooqi, who has been in sensational form this World Cup, struck two consecutive deliveries of the third over: Lega Siaka fell for a duck as Rahmullah Gurbaz completed a fine catch, while the next ball jagged back in to send Sese Bau, PNG’s only half-centurion in the World Cup, packing for a first-ball duck. 

Naveen-ul-Haq then struck twice to find PNG teetering at 30-5 inside the powerplay. Wicketkeeper Kiplin Doriga’s 32-ball 27 added some volume to PNG’s total, but they were bowled out for 95 off the last ball of the 20th over. Farooqi was the pick of the Afghanistan bowlers with figures of 3-16 off his four overs.

In reply, Afghanistan lost their prolific opening duo of Ibrahim Zadran (0) and Gurbaz (11 off 7) inside three overs, but No.3 Gulbadin Naib stayed till the end with a 36-ball 49 to ensure Afghanistan reached home safely with 29 balls remaining.

The result also means New Zealand were eliminated from the first round of the tournament for the first time. They will play Uganda and PNG next to complete the formalities. 

Afghanistan’s best performance in the T20 World Cup

Afghanistan advanced to the T20 World Cup Super Eights to mark their best effort in the T20 World Cup. Having debuted in 2010, they have qualified for every edition since then. A Super 10 finish in 2016, which included a memorable win against the champions West Indies was their previous best effort. In 2022, Afghanistan were a part of the Super 12 but didn't win a single game. 

Afghanistan owe much of their success to their openers, Gurbaz, the leading run-scorer (167) in the tournament so far, and Ibrahim. They amassed 154 against Uganda and 103 against New Zealand, playing decisive roles in Afghanistan’s wins. Meanwhile, Farooqi has taken the most wickets (12) until now. 

Subscribe to the Wisden Cricket YouTube channel for post-match analysis, player interviews, and much more.