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Afghanistan hail Lara inspiration in T20 World Cup heroics

Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan credited cricket legend Brian Lara for motivating them to reach the T20 World Cup semi-finals for the first time. Their thrilling eight-run victory over Bangladesh secured their place in the last four and knocked out powerhouse Australia.

“We proved Brian Lara right; he was the only one who predicted Afghanistan would reach the semis,” Rashid remarked. “We discussed this with him at the welcome party. When such a legendary figure believes in you, it really boosts the team’s morale.”

Afghanistan will face unbeaten South Africa in the first semi-final in Trinidad on Wednesday, while India will take on defending champions England in the second semi-final in Guyana on Thursday.

Defending a modest total of 115-5 against Bangladesh in their final Super Eights match, Rashid led from the front with figures of 4-23. Bangladesh fell short at 105 all out in pursuit of a revised target of 114 off 19 overs, amidst multiple rain delays and tense calculations.

Regarding an injury to Afghanistan’s Gulbadin Naib, Rashid clarified, “He had cramps, a field injury which didn’t affect the game’s dynamics significantly. There’s no controversy there.”

South Africa reached the semis with an unbeaten record but faced tough challenges, including a narrow one-run win over Nepal. Despite historical wins over Afghanistan in previous T20 encounters, Rashid believes their current form justifies Afghanistan’s place in the semi-finals.

“It’s a huge achievement for us as a team and a nation. Our performance throughout the tournament proves we belong here,” Rashid concluded, reflecting on their journey to the semi-finals.

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