'Our journey starts now': Afghanistan's instant vow to continue freakish cricketing rise

After sealing arguably their greatest ever cricketing win, Afghanistan's Gulbadin Naib promises this is just the beginning.

Afghanistan beat Australia by 21 runs

They have done it.

If Afghanistan's group stage domination of New Zealand wasn't quite impressive enough, try Auatralia in the Super Eight.

Judging by the reactions, as they sealed their most famous ever cricketing win and first over the Aussies, this meant not just plenty, but everything.

It was reward for an enormous two-decade rise up the cricketing ranks and a result that shocked the world far more than it shocked themselves.

Rashid Khan and Afghanistan turned up with plans for both innings, ideas that had the potential to disrupt Australia's momentum, and executed with aplomb.

They beat Australia at their own game, taking their chances in the field and winning the Powerplay exchange.

Afghanistan had already announced itself as a tournament contender, but other heavyweights are now firmly aware of what this team is capable of.

A day to remember!

Gulbadin Naib, who collected a history-making four wickets, confirmed that the best is yet to come for this team. Maybe at this T20 World Cup, maybe not. But make no mistake, as a cricketing force, Afghanistan isn’t going anywhere.

“Our journey starts now,” Gulbadin said when collecting his Player of the Match award.

“(Australia) is a big team, a world champion team, so for our cricket it’s a big achievement (that) we can carry to the next level. In the last 10 years, we achieved a lot of goals, so this is the big achievement in our cricket. It’s a great moment, not only for me, but my nation, my people. We were waiting (to beat Australia) for a long time.”

Naib's 4/20 that won the game for Afghanistan!

Captain Rashid Khan echoed Gulbadin’s raw emotion.

“It’s a massive win for us as a team and as a nation,” he said post-game.

“Super proud of the guys and how they delivered. It’s just the beginning now, for us, and (it’s) a big game next one (against Bangladesh) and we have all the chances to get to the semis.”

Rashid’s top-order stuck around, his fielders were clutch and his bowlers stuck to the plan.

Australia’s batting line-up were never afforded a chance to settle into any kind of rhythm.

Eight Afghan players got a chance with the ball – Gulbadin being one of them. And he repaid the faith in spades, becoming the first ever player in World Cup cricket - across both ODIs and T20Is - to take four wickets as the eighth bowling option.

And fittingly, Mohammad Nabi’s catch at long on was the act that sealed the win in the last over – an Afghan veteran that’s been there for much of the team’s mission up the ICC ranks. He’s been a part of wins against 45 nations now.

And if Afghanistan progresses past the Super Eight stage, there’s a chance that number can rise further yet.

Naib takes a stunner to put Afghanistan on the brink | T20WC 2024

ICC Men's T20 World Cup, 2024News