Gulbadin Naib accused of faking injury as Afghanistan knock Australia out of T20 World Cup

Updated
Gulbadin Naib collapsed with apparent cramp while standing at slip
Gulbadin Naib collapsed with apparent cramp while standing at slip - Sky Sports Cricket

Gulbadin Naib was accused of faking injury to waste time before taking a wicket that helped secure Afghanistan’s first ever World Cup semi-final, eliminating Australia and sparking scenes of joy in Kabul.

Afghanistan needed to beat Bangladesh to take their place in the World Cup semi-final at Australia’s expense – and they won a rain-affected classic in St Vincent to set up a last-four clash with South Africa.

Afghanistan’s eight-run win (using the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method) was not without controversy, however.

Bangladesh had stumbled to 81 for seven in the 12th over, in response to Afghanistan’s 115. With rain starting to fall, Afghanistan’s head coach Jonathan Trott, the former England batsman, was seen on the boundary telling his players to slow the game down in the hope that the umpires would take the players from the field. Afghanistan, at that point, were ahead on DLS.

Veteran Gulbadin, fielding at slip to the spinner, took Trott’s instruction very literally, and suddenly fell to the ground clutching his leg, appearing to feign a hamstring injury. Moments later, the players were being taken from the field, with Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan appearing unhappy with his player’s behaviour, and Bangladesh batsman Litton Das mocking Gulbadin.

Adam Zampa, the Australia spinner, described the injury as “the old rainstring” on Instagram, while former New Zealand bowler Simon Doull was fierce in his criticism of what appeared gamesmanship on the ICC’s commentary feed.

“Oh no no no, sorry. You can’t have this,” said Doull, “I’m not accepting that… Even Rashid doesn’t like it. It’s just delay tactics. I get it but I don’t like that at all. It is unacceptable.

“They might have gone off anyway for the rain but that’s not a good look. I know the Euros are going on in football, you’d be better off there.”

A short rain delay followed, with the players returning having lost one over, and Bangladesh’s target being adjusted to 114. Rashid bowled his last over (finishing with brilliant figures of four for 23), and soon turned to Gulbadin, who had bowled superbly in the win over Australia on Sunday. With his second ball he picked up the eighth wicket, of Tanzim Hasan Sakib, before Naveen-ul-Haq took the final two wickets amid scenes of high drama.

Former England captain and Telegraph Sport columnist Michael Vaughan posted on social media: “Spirit of cricket is alive and” before adding “Great to see Gulbadin become the first cricketer in the history of the game to get a wicket 25 mins after being shot…”

The win is a seismic moment for Afghanistan cricket, whose men’s team have emerged as a real force in the game over the last decade (the ruling Taliban, meanwhile, have banned their women’s team from playing). They are now one win away from a World Cup final.

For Zampa and his Australian team-mates it is a brutal blow, though. They made a flying start to the tournament and fast bowler Josh Hazlewood even wondered aloud whether they could engineer England’s elimination by deliberately underperforming against Scotland. But after Super 8 staged defeats to Afghanistan and India, Australia are heading home, with England through to the semi-finals. They will face India on Thursday in Guyana.

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