Usman Khawaja lauds Afghanistan but regrets he 'can't see' them play in Australia

Australian cricketer congratulate "inspirational" Afghanistan over historic win in T20 World Cup match

Sports Desk
Afghanistan's captain Rashid Khan (L) celebrates his team's win of the ICC men´s Twenty20 World Cup 2024 Super Eight cricket match between Afghanistan and Australia at Arnos Vale Stadium in Arnos Vale, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on June 22, 2024. — AFP

Cricketer Usman Khawaja heaped praise on Afghanistan after their monumental win against Australia and regretted that he cannot see the "inspirational" team play in his country as Cricket Australia doesn't allow a bilateral series between the two sides. 

The Afghans registered a historic 22-run victory against the Kangaroos in a major upset at the T20 World Cup 2024 Saturday's Super 8 match in Kingstown. 

Khawaja, who plays as an opener for Australia in Tests, congratulated Afghanistan while calling them the better team on the day and also expressed his dissatisfaction with Aussie cricketing body's stance regarding playing a bilateral series with the Afghans.

"Well done Brother. Better team on the day. You boys are an inspiration for so many back home and abroad. So sad we can't see you all play in Australia," Khawaja wrote on X, formerly Twitter, while reposting Afghan skipper Rashid Khan's victory post. 

Since 2021, CA has refused to play Afghanistan thrice citing restriction on women’s education and employment opportunities in the war-torn country as reasons to not play.

In 2021, Afghanistan women’s team was dispersed and some members also fled capital Kabul after the Taliban government took control of the city following US withdrawal. 

In response, Australia pulled out of a one-off Test against Afghanistan in Hobart.

Later in 2023, before the ODI World Cup 2023, the Aussies decided not to play a three-T20I series against the Afghans in UAE. More recently, they declined to play a T20I series which was scheduled for August.

In the World Cup Super 8 match, Australia elected to bowl first and restricted Afghanistan to 148 runs at the loss of six wickets. Marsh’s men then failed to chase the target of 149 and fell 22 runs short.

Their highest run-scorer in the game was Glenn Maxwell who scored 59 off 41 balls. Gulbadin Naib turned out to be the star bowler for Afghanistan as he dismissed four of Australia’s batters — Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins and Tim David.

Naveen ul Haq took three wickets in his four-over spell and gave away 20 runs. but the star of the show was Gulbadin Naib, who clinched 4-20 and was declared Player of the Match.

"Thanks to Dear Allah. We've waited for a long time. Big moment for our nation and our people. I have no words to say but thanks to the fans who have supported us in our career and cricket journey," Naib said after the match.

"I learnt from the batting innings on how to bowl. Thanks to Rashid for trusting me. It's a whole team effort, Rahmanullah, Zadran, and also Naveen for the momentum. It is a great achievement for Afghanistan, we have achieved many things in last ten years but this is a big achievement.

"In the last World Cup we played well and in this World Cup we beat New Zealand too. Australia are a champion side so for us it is a big tournament. Lucky to have this kind of team and management."

Naib became the first man in World Cup history (ODI and T20 combined) to take four wickets as an 8th bowler. Afghanistan used eight bowlers tonight, Naib was the last one.