Naveen Ul Haq took three wickets in Afghanistan's win over Australia

Afghanistan pacer Naveen-ul-Haq posted a cryptic message on Instagram after his side's memorable victory against Australia in the Super Eights stage of the 2024 T20 World Cup.

Naveen was one of the main architects of Afghanistan’s 21-run victory over Australia, which boosted their hopes for the semi-finals in the tournament. Defending 149 on a turner, the fast bowler drew first blood for his side by castling the dangerous Travis Head for a duck. He followed it with another wicket, this time of opposition captain Mitchell Marsh, who was deceived by a slower ball, holing out to Mohammad Nabi. The early scalps placed Afghanistan in an advantageous position, with Australia losing their top three for 32. 

Australia never looked in rhythm, and despite a fighting 41-ball 59 from Glenn Maxwell, they were well within reach of the target.

Maxwell was threatening to repeat Afghanistan’s 2023 ODI World Cup horrors. A timely blow from Gulbadin Naib, aided by a fine catch by Noor Ahmad at backward point, thwarted any possible chances of a comeback from Australia. From 106-6 in 14.4 overs, Australia were folded for 127 off the second ball in the last over. Naib was adjudged the Player of the Match for his 4-20. The brilliant bowling effort was set up by a record 118-run opening partnership between Rahmannullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran.

After his match-defining opening spell, Naveen took to Instagram to hit out at critics. His post on the social media platform was a collage of two pictures. The left picture shows a person sitting alone in the stands of an empty stadium, with “support” written on it, while the right one is of a jampacked stadium that reads “congratulations”. The bowler captioned it with a “finger on the lips” emoji.

"Once they keep silent, they forget how good they are"

Throughout the game, Afghanistan's players looked charged-up, with Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Marcus Stoinis involved in a face-off, and Stoinis giving him a send-off later. Speaking about his fired-up, captain Rashid Khan later said it helps them realise how good they are.

"Well, some guys in the team, they need that kind of fire up," Rashid Khan said. "Once they keep silent, they forget how good they are and they need the kind of fire up in the middle. And to be honest, in this game, most happiest thing I have seen was the running between the wicket, between Ibrahim and Gurbaz. And it all came from those sledging, I feel.

"They had that kind of conversation. While watching from outside, I felt like they had the competition with the fielders. I'm going to take two runs. I'm going to take one run and things like that. So, what happened with that is that kept them involved in the game, and they focused on scoring runs."

A similar message was posted by Jasprit Bumrah when he became the No.1 ranked Test bowler in the world in February.

Here's Naveen's story on Instagram

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Naveen ul haq Murid (@naveen_ul_haq)

He also reshared a story by West Indies batter and IPL teammate Nicholas Pooran, where he was praised for doing well with the new ball.


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