When Jonathan Trott first took the Afghanistan job he had to pay for his own flights.

The 42-year-old then took a game against Ireland in a San Francisco 49ers jacket – his favourite NFL team – as there was no kit available for him.

Fast forward 18 months and Trott has just agreed a fresh one-year deal following Afghanistan’s historic World Cup.


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The former England batsman – a three-time Ashes winner – has excelled in his first head coach role but admits it has been an eye-opener.


“Some things have improved, some have stayed the same. When I arrived in Ireland I’d had to buy my own ticket to fly to there,” Trott told the PA news agency ahead of Thursday’s first T20 game with India in Mohali.

“I remember coaching the first game, I had to wear an NFL jacket because I didn’t have a jacket in Ireland in August, it was freezing and we didn’t have any tracksuits.

“These sorts of things hit you, when you play for England you realise how lucky you are, how you are afforded the best facilities, the best kit, the best organisation.

“With us you have a manager, physio and coach. It’s going back to the start of my cricketing days and that’s what makes it so enjoyable, seeing 18 months down the line what the guys are doing.”

World Cup wins over England, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Netherlands in India during October and November underlined Afghanistan’s progress. Only an astonishing 201 from Glenn Maxwell stopped the Blue Tigers taking the scalp of Australia.

Wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz was a cattle farmer while Fazalhaq Farooqi was a labourer, including building mud walls, while honing their cricketing skills.

A 6.3 magnitude earthquake which struck the country in October, killing over 2,400 people, also impacted the squad, with star man Rashid Khan donating his match fees to the relief effort.

Now, Afghanistan had 10 players in the IPL auction last month, with their journeys not lost on Trott.

“I’ve seen a picture of Fazal five years ago ploughing a field in traditional Afghan attire,” he said. “It’s one of the most stark contrasts, it brings you to the realisation of what the players have achieved.

“He was ploughing lines to plant potatoes and now is in the IPL.”

The country’s cricketing success has come with the squad playing under a flag no longer recognised by their country and singing a national anthem which does not exist following the Taliban’s return to power in 2021.

While the inner workings of the government is something Trott does not discuss, he cares about his players.

“I consciously stay away from politics, I don’t talk politics with the guys on purpose because it might make them uncomfortable, like they can’t be honest with me,” he says.

“I coach cricket, I listen, I ask questions and I’m courteous with regards to the players, their upbringings and what makes them.


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“There are some very religious views and some aren’t as religious as others. I find that interesting, the dynamics of that and the balance the players have.

“As coaches sometimes we blur the lines because every time we speak we think we have to come up with some golden nugget or something we want the players to look at and go: ‘Oh, that’s revolutionary.'”

The former Warwickshire batter has proved he can alter his approach, changing his batting order in training to accommodate prayers being a prime example.

Despite committing his future to Afghanistan, his ambition is not limited to the country, with Trott previously underlining his desire to coach England having had a previous spell as batting coach.

It is one which remains but, with the T20 World Cup in June, his eyes remain on the present.

“I’m focused on making sure we’re in the best place possible for the World Cup. I’d be lying if I didn’t want to coach England or in the IPL,” he said, having overseen a 2-1 T20 series win against the UAE this month.

“If somebody asked me when I was a youngster would you want to play for England? I would have said: ‘Yes, absolutely.’ I don’t see that as a problem. It’s good to be ambitious and it’s good to want to be at the top, wanting to be the best.”

Glenn Maxwell rewrote the World Cup record books as he single-handedly batted Australia to a remarkable win over Afghanistan.

Maxwell defied “horrific” back spasms to hit an unbeaten 201 and power his side from 91 for seven to 293 and a three-wicket win.

It was Australia’s first one-day international double century and here the PA news agency looks at the records set by Maxwell and his eighth-wicket partner Pat Cummins.

Double delight

The highest ODI score by an Australia batter stood at 185 not out, by Shane Watson against Bangladesh in 2011, until Maxwell’s astonishing effort in Mumbai.

It is only the third double century at a World Cup, with West Indies star Chris Gayle setting a record of 215 against Zimbabwe in 2015 but then watching New Zealand’s Martin Guptill top it with 237 not out against his side later in the same tournament.

He is only the ninth man to make an ODI double hundred, with 11 such scores in total, including three for India’s Rohit Sharma. Maxwell made Australia only the fifth nation represented on that list – India with seven from Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill, while Fakhar Zaman hit 210 not out for Pakistan against Zimbabwe in 2018.

In 128 balls, Maxwell’s is also the fastest World Cup double – Gayle took 138 balls to reach the landmark and Guptill 152. Kishan narrowly held on to the fastest ODI double, in 126 balls against Bangladesh last year.

The inning was completed fittingly with the winning six, Maxwell’s 10th to go with 21 fours – only Guptill, with 24 fours and 11 sixes in his 237, has scored more runs in boundaries in a World Cup innings.

Perfect partner

“Just ridiculous!” Cummins told Sky Sports with a smile, adding: “It’s got to be the greatest ODI innings that’s ever happened, it’s one of those days where you just go, ‘When that happened, I was here in the stadium’.”

The Australia captain was far more than a mere spectator, though, defying Afghanistan for 68 balls in a two-hour stay at the crease.

He contributed 12 runs to a lop-sided partnership of 202, which destroyed the ODI record for the eighth wicket – an unbroken 138 between South Africa’s Justin Kemp and Andrew Hall against India in 2006 – and the Australian best of 119 between Paul Reiffel and Shane Warne against the Proteas in 1994.

It was also the first 200 stand for any wicket from the seventh downwards – the previous record being Jos Buttler and Adil Rashid’s 177 for England’s seventh wicket against New Zealand in 2015.

Mitchell Marsh’s 24 was the second-highest score as Maxwell racked up 68.6 per cent of Australia’s runs in the innings – only West Indies great Sir Viv Richards has ever scored a greater share of his team’s runs in a completed ODI innings, 189no in a total of 272 for nine against England in 1984 (69.5 per cent).

Afghanistan contributed valiantly to a thrilling match and, while it will be relegated to a footnote after Maxwell’s heroics, opener Ibrahim Zadran carried his bat for 129no to record their first World Cup century.

Glenn Maxwell hit a record-breaking double-century as Australia fought back to beat Afghanistan by three wickets in a remarkable contest in Mumbai and seal a place in the World Cup semi-finals.

The three-time champions, targeting 292 for victory, slumped to 91 for seven before turning things around thanks to Maxwell’s breathtaking unbeaten 201, which came off 128 balls and included 21 fours and 10 sixes.

It was with the last of those sixes that the 35-year-old all-rounder – who battled on despite appearing in some pain – wrapped up the win with 19 deliveries to go.

It was the highest-ever score by an Australian in a one-day international, as the team achieved the highest successful ODI run chase there had ever been at the Wankhede Stadium.

The ground had seen history made earlier with Afghanistan recording their maiden World Cup century, Ibrahim Zadran posting an unbeaten 12.

Their total of 291 for five also featured contributions of 35 not out from Rashid Khan and 30 from Rahmat Shah as Afghanistan sought to beat Australia for the first time at the fourth attempt in this format.

Australia’s reply started badly with Travis Head being dismissed for a duck by Naveen-ul-Haq with only four runs on the board.

And the wickets continued to go as Pat Cummins’ men stumbled to 49 for four after Azmatullah Omarzai took the scalps of David Warner and Josh Inglis in consecutive balls.

When Mitchell Starc was ousted – despite questions over whether the ball had hit his bat – via a superb catch from wicketkeeper Ikram Alikhil to leave Australia at 91 for seven in the 19th over, Afghanistan looked to be closing in on a famous victory.

But Maxwell then took centre stage with a stunning display to push Australia to victory.

Having been dropped and survived an lbw appeal on review, he went on to register boundary after boundary, even though at times he looked to be in considerable discomfort and struggling to run.

Able to continue after receiving treatment on the field, he subsequently completed his double-century – and Australia’s win – in fitting fashion by crashing yet another maximum that took his partnership with Cummins (12) to 202.

Third-placed Australia advance into the last four, joining India and South Africa, ahead of finishing their group matches by playing Bangladesh in Pune on Saturday.

Afghanistan remain sixth, with one of them, New Zealand and Pakistan set to make the semi-finals – they face South Africa in Ahmedabad on Friday.

Jos Buttler accepted his future as England captain was out of his hands after another painful defeat sent his side tumbling towards the World Cup exit door.

England knew nothing less than victory over Sri Lanka would be enough to keep alive their fading hopes of reaching the semi-finals and they responded with arguably their worst performance yet in a campaign littered with low points.

After choosing to bat first, they were skittled for a meagre 156 in 33.2 overs, then watched as their opponents cantered home by eight wickets in Bangalore with almost half of the innings unused.

The thrashing, which followed heavy losses to New Zealand, Afghanistan and South Africa, left the reigning champions ninth in the standings with an eye-watering net run-rate.

With four games to go – including table-topping India and bitter rivals Australia – they are being kept off bottom spot by the only associate nation at the competition, the Netherlands.

Remarkably, England are not yet mathematically out with four games to play, but the route is fanciful in the extreme and Buttler acknowledged the game was up.

“It certainly looks that way and that’s incredibly disappointing. It would need a few miracles,” he said, glassy-eyed after another draining day.

“You get on the plane with high hopes and a lot of confidence and belief that we can challenge for the title, so to be sat here now with the three weeks we’ve had is a shock. It’s a shock to everyone.

“I’ll walk back in the dressing room after this, look at the players sat there and think ‘how have we found ourselves in this position with the talent and the skill that’s in the room’?

“But it is the position we’re in, it’s the reality of what’s happened over the last three weeks and that’s a huge low point.”

Pressed on his own status in charge of the side Buttler indicated a desire to continue but a realisation that the verdict may not be his to make.

In reality, England do not have an obvious successor lined up and Buttler is relatively new in the role, having inherited the mantle following Eoin Morgan’s retirement last summer.

He also has a T20 World Cup win in the bank and there has been no indication that managing director of the men’s cricket, Rob Key, has an itchy trigger finger.

“I think you’re always questioning as captain how you can get the best out of players, how you can get the team moving in the right direction,” Buttler admitted.

“I certainly have a lot of confidence and belief in myself as a leader and captain and first and foremost as a player, but if you’re asking if I should still be captaining the team, that’s a question for the guys above me.

“The tournament’s gone nowhere near the way we wanted it to…that much is obvious. As a leader, you want to lead through your own performance and I’ve not been able to do that.”

Head coach Matthew Mott joined Buttler in writing off the chances of sneaking through to the last four, telling BBC Sport: “Yeah, it’s over now, I think.

“I’m not a mathematician, but with our net run-rate and too many teams who are going to take games off each other, we have to come to terms with that. From now we’re playing for a lot of pride.

“We feel like we’ve let our fans down, our families and supporters and everyone in that dressing room, we haven’t put our best foot forward and in professional sport, that’s what you’re judged on.”

England captain Jos Buttler told his side to “let it hurt” after their World Cup campaign hit the skids with a shock defeat to Afghanistan.

The defending champions were thrashed by 69 runs in Delhi, dismissed for 215 with almost 10 overs to spare by a team who walked into the contest with a record of 16 defeats from the previous 17 World Cup matches.

That their only previous success came against associates Scotland in 2015 makes the result, and the comfortable margin, even more remarkable.

And while it will go down in Afghan sporting history, England may end up reflecting on the day their title defence ended.

They are not down and out yet, with six group games still to play, but two losses from their first three games mean they must put together a near-perfect run to reach the semi-finals.

Buttler looked drained and drawn by events at the Arun Jaitley Stadium and accepted his side would need to feel some pain before plotting their response.

“It’s really disappointing. We came here today wanting to put in a really good performance and we got outplayed,” he said.

“You’ve got to let these defeats hurt. Let it hurt; then try to figure out where we need to get better.

“It never feels good; you never like losing games of cricket or not performing to the level you want to.

“As a whole, we were not at the level we would like to be in a World Cup. On the field and off it, we will be trying to put it right.

“It’s a big setback. Before the tournament started it’s not how you would have looked at the first three results.

“We’ve got to show a lot of character, a lot of resilience within the team and most of all a lot of belief.”

England have plenty of issues to ponder when they relocate to Mumbai for what now seems a must-win clash against in-form South Africa.

Chris Woakes continued an underwhelming start to the tournament and was awarded just four of his allotted 10 overs after being flogged for 41.

For a player who has so often set England up with new ball discipline, his struggles appear emblematic of a team struggling to reach their own high bar.

Woakes sent down a wide from the first ball of the match, with Buttler nutmegging himself behind the stumps as the ball tricked away to the boundary rope. As a portent of what was to come, it felt apt.

It was also telling that England ended up relying on 24 overs of spin having overlooked Moeen Ali – including a full 10 from Liam Livingstone for the first time in ODI cricket and four from the part-time Joe Root.

“Maybe the conditions didn’t play quite as we thought they would. Obviously throughout our bowling innings, spin was the main threat,” he said.

“Maybe there wasn’t quite as much dew as we thought there was and maybe the pitch didn’t quite play how we thought it would having watched a few games here so far in the tournament.

“But first ball of the day I missed one and it sort of set the tone.”

Former England batter Jonathan Trott, forging a new path now as the Afghanistan head coach, was beaming after landing the biggest scalps of his career.

“It’s always nice. I think I’ll take any victory. I’m very proud of the performance, whether it’s against England or not,” he said.

“I know that the players and the coaching staff deserve it. I’m very keen not to put a dampener on things.

“I never soaked up enough or enjoyed moments like this. I’m certainly going to say to the guys, enjoy tonight and, spend the time together, whatever you want to do.

“If this can bring a smile to people’s faces anywhere in the world, but also encourage boys and girls to pick up a cricket bat or a cricket ball and get playing cricket in Afghanistan, then that’s the sort of the goal that’s been achieved.”

England captain Jos Buttler admitted his side were “outplayed” by Afghanistan after they slumped to a shock World Cup defeat in Delhi.

Set 285 to win after electing to field, defending champions England were skittled out for just 215 as the underdogs won a World Cup match for only the second time.

Speaking at the post-match presentation, Buttler said: “It’s disappointing, having won the toss and elected to field.

“It’s a tough loss to take, congratulations to Afghanistan, they outplayed us today.

“It’s about execution and we were not at the level we wanted to be with the ball and the bat.

“They are a really skilful attack with some fantastic spin bowlers. They put us under lots of pressure and we weren’t quite good enough today.

“You’ve got to let these defeats hurt, reflect and work on the areas we need to do better. We’ve got lots of resilience and we’ll come back fighting.”

England, who won the World Cup in 2019, have now lost two of their opening three matches to leave their hopes of a place in the semi-finals in the balance.

“We’ll let tonight sink in before thinking about that,” Buttler added on Sky Sports.

“I’ve experienced a few lows so far in my career. Going back to 2019 we lost a couple of games early on to leave us in a position where we had to win and we were good enough to do it.”

Ben Stokes was missing from the England team and Buttler said: “He’s been working hard but just wasn’t quite fit for today.”

Former England captain Michael Atherton was full of praise for Afghanistan and felt England were always chasing the game.

He told Sky Sports: “I thought they started badly, sloppily, five wides at the start, a misfield. They just looked a bit off the pace and that sets the tone.

“Harry Brook played excellently but nobody else really. They were well beaten.

“They’ve lost two matches badly. They’ve not given themselves much margin for error.

“It is the greatest night in (Afghanistan’s) cricketing history. They played brilliantly and outplayed England and won this game fair and square.

“It’s been an amazing rise to prominence, cricket in Afghanistan, and this is their high point to beat the World Cup holders.”

Player of the match Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who took three wickets, told Sky Sports: “It’s a very proud moment to be here beating the world champions, a great achievement for the whole nation and the team.

“It was a wonderful performance from the bowlers and the batters.”

England’s hopes of defending the World Cup suffered an almighty blow in Delhi, where underdogs Afghanistan pulled off a stunning upset to floor the 2019 champions.

Jos Buttler’s side were roundly outplayed on their way to a shock 69-run defeat and have now lost two of their first three games in India to leave their chances of emerging from the group stage hanging by a thread.

Set 285 to win after putting their opponents in, England imploded for 215 in front of a frenzied crowd who roared on Afghanistan’s triumph as if it were glorious home win at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.

In terms of English stumbles on the biggest stage in one-day cricket this was a result to rank alongside the 2011 loss to Ireland in Bengaluru – a game that current Afghanistan head coach Jonathan Trott played in.

Afghanistan are a more talented side but two thumping losses against India and Bangladesh, allied with England’s hard-won reputation in white-ball cricket, still render this a seismic result.

The heavy margin, and the 9.3 unused overs, only increase the magnitude. Harry Brook, the youngest and least experienced member of the England side, fought a lone hand with 66 but with precious little support and a lethargic bowling display it was nowhere near enough.

England slumped to a shock World Cup defeat against Afghanistan in Delhi.

The defending champions were dismissed for 215 as they failed to chase down their target of 285.

Here, the PA news agency recalls five other World Cup humiliations for England.

Bangladesh, Adelaide, March 2015

Eoin Morgan’s men were consigned to a group-stage exit from the World Cup, alongside the likes of the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan, after failing to chase down Bangladesh’s 275 for seven.

Netherlands, Chattogram, March 2014

England bowed out of the T20 World Cup with a shambolic 45-run defeat. In pursuit of 133 for five, Stuart Broad’s side – who had won the toss and opted to chase – mustered a risible 88 all out, just eight more than their worst-ever score in the format.

Ireland, Bangalore, March 2011

Kevin O’Brien hit the fastest-ever World Cup century to lead Ireland to a three-wicket win. O’Brien made 113 off 63 balls as Ireland recovered from 111 for five to chase down 328 and claim a stunning victory.

Netherlands, Lord’s, June 2009

The Netherlands beat England by four wickets from the last ball of their T20 World Cup group match match at Lord’s. The hosts, without the injured Kevin Pietersen, were still expected to prevail with ease. Instead, despite a century opening stand between Ravi Bopara and Luke Wright, their 162 for five proved insufficient.

Zimbabwe, Albury, March 1992

Zimbabwe recorded just their second World Cup win by skittling out England for 125 in Australia. The underdogs only posted 134 themselves but Graham Gooch fell to the first ball in the reply and the rest of the order quickly followed with Eddo Brandes taking four wickets.

England’s World Cup bolter Harry Brook admits he is still trying to “figure out the format” after being asked to fill a Ben Stokes-shaped gap in the one-day side.

Just six weeks ago Brook was making plans to watch the tournament from home after being left out of the provisional squad, but things have moved fast since then.

He replaced Jason Roy just before the deadline after an eye-catching response to being left out and, when Stokes suffered a hip injury shortly after arriving in India, Brook found himself promoted from reserve batter to first-choice for games against New Zealand and Bangladesh.

Stokes looks set to miss out again on Sunday, when they face Jonathan Trott’s Afghanistan in Delhi, but was running more freely in training at the Arun Jaitley Stadium two days out.

That would give Brook another chance to make the most of his unexpected opportunity in a version of the game that has taken a back seat in the Yorkshire batter’s formative years.

Already a rising star in the Test arena and a T20 world champion, he has played a grand total of 23 List A fixtures, with eight of those on the international stage.

With the advent of The Hundred relegating the Metro Bank Cup’s status, he is representative of a generation of upcoming English talent with limited 50-over experience and finds himself in the unusual position of learning the ropes at the highest possible level.

“I’m very inexperienced in this format. It does make a big difference having not played it, I think,” he said.

“Hopefully I can pick it up fairly quickly after the last couple of games and, if I get another go, then try and make a big score.

“You’ve just got to try to construct an innings better than I have done in the games I’ve played, just keep on trying to learn and figure out the format.”

Brook has made bright starts in both Ahmedabad and Dharamshala only to be dismissed for 25 and 20.

The numbers tell a story – with his 45 runs comprising 34 in boundaries and coming off just 31 balls. In a side famed for its relentless commitment to attack, there is a suspicion that the 24-year-old may have gone too hard, too soon.

“Everybody’s just said ‘you’ve got a lot more time than you think’,” he said.

“It’s almost approaching the start of your innings like a Test match and then, the longer you’re in, the easier it gets and the less the ball’s moving around.

“I’ve played so much T20 cricket over the last couple of years, if you see a ball go above your eyeline your eyes light up and you want to smack it. But I’ll just give myself a bit more time and make a big one soon.”

England are taking Stokes’ fitness on a day-by-day basis, but the next game against an in-form South Africa is likely to be a greater priority than Afghanistan. Either way, there is no question that a place awaits as soon as he gets a green light.

“Obviously Stokesy has to come back in. He’s one of the best players to ever play for England,” was Brook’s assessment. “Whether it’s me or someone else missing out, he’s 100 per cent coming back in the team.”

Chris Woakes was absent from Friday’s floodlit training session due to sickness, with Gus Atkinson and David Willey standing by.

The pacy Atkinson has an even thinner track record in 50-over cricket than Brook, playing just five times in the format and taking just six wickets, but has impressed England with his direct, attacking style and has the pace to trouble top batters.

Pakistan will not follow Australia in pulling out of their bilateral series against Afghanistan.

Cricket Australia (CA) this month withdrew from a scheduled ODI series against Afghanistan, which was due to take place in March, because of the Taliban's treatment of women.

CA announced it was opting out of the series following consultation with relevant stakeholders, including the Australian government.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) described that decision as "an unfortunate attempt to enter the realm of politics and politicise the sport", accusing CA of "prioritising political interests over the principles of fair play and sportsmanship".

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi on Monday vowed that Babar Azam's side will be taking on Afghanistan in what will now be a Twenty20 International series rather than ODIs at an offshore venue.

Asked about the PCB stance on the reasons for Australia's withdrawal, he said: "That is not our business and we don't like to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

"My personal stance is that politics and cricket shouldn't be mixed up, so following that principle the series is subject to pending approvals from the Pakistan government and I think approvals will be granted."

Sethi explained why the matches will be 20 overs per side rather than 50, with both teams already assured of a place in the World Cup this year.

He added: "I met with the executive members of Afghanistan Cricket Board and they were asking us to play an [ODI] series, but we didn't find any attraction playing the series.

"It's mainly because the series was meant for the [Super League] points, and now no matter who wins it won't make a difference. So we agreed to play a series of three T20Is in Sharjah just after the PSL [Pakistan Super League], subject to government approval.

"We will share 50 per cent of the revenue from the series equally and we will jointly outsource the production."

Rashid Khan is "strongly considering" his future in the Big Bash League after Cricket Australia (CA) announced the national team's withdrawal from a planned ODI series against Afghanistan.

Australia had been scheduled to take on Afghanistan in a three-game ODI series in the United Arab Emirates in March as part of the ICC Super League.

However, CA confirmed their decision to pull out of the series on Thursday, stating it was due to the treatment of women and girls by the Taliban, who came into power in Afghanistan in 2021 following NATO's chaotic withdrawal from the country.

The decision for Australia to opt out of the series came after consultation with relevant stakeholders, including the Australian Government, with CA saying in a statement: "This decision follows the recent announcement by the Taliban of further restrictions on women and girls' education and employment opportunities and their ability to access parks and gyms."

Afghanistan T20I captain Rashid posted a response on Twitter that read: "Cricket! The only hope for the country. Keep politics out of it," including a statement outlining his disappointment, before questioning whether Australia's concerns should also lead to him withdrawing from the Big Bash League, where he plays for Adelaide Strikers.

"I am really disappointed to hear that Australia have pulled out of the series to play us in March," he wrote. "I take great pride in representing my country, and we have made great progress on the world stage. This decision from CA sets us back in that journey.

"If playing vs Afghanistan is so uncomfortable for Australia, then I wouldn't want to make anyone uncomfortable with my presence in the BBL. Therefore, I will be strongly considering my future in that competition."

The Afghanistan Cricket Board also issued a strong statement, saying it was "extremely disappointed and saddened by the pathetic statement of Cricket Australia" and adding it would "write to the International Cricket Council about the issue."

Cricket Australia (CA) has announced the national team's withdrawal from a planned ODI series against Afghanistan due to the Taliban's treatment of women.

Australia were scheduled to take on Afghanistan in a three-game ODI series in the United Arab Emirates in March, as part of the ICC Super League.

But CA announced on Thursday that it would opt out of the series following consultation with relevant stakeholders, including the Australian Government.

"This decision follows the recent announcement by the Taliban of further restrictions on women and girls' education and employment opportunities and their ability to access parks and gyms," CA said in a statement.

"CA is committed to supporting growing the game for women and men around the world, including in Afghanistan, and will continue to engage with the Afghanistan Cricket Board in anticipation of improved conditions for women and girls in the country.

"We thank the Australian Government for its support on this matter."

The Taliban took back control of Afghanistan in 2021 when NATO forces left the country in a chaotic withdrawal.

That ended a 20-year war, which began when the United States invaded Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Mohammad Nabi resigned as captain of Afghanistan after their T20 World Cup campaign ended without a victory.

Despite a spirited fightback late in their innings, Afghanistan lost to Australia by four runs in Adelaide on Friday, meaning they finished the Super 12 with three defeats and two no-results.

Nabi had been in the role since the start of the 2021 T20 World Cup after taking over from Rashid Khan, who was 48 not out from 23 balls as Afghanistan fell narrowly short against the Australians.

Nabi posted on Twitter after the game: "Our T20 World Cup journey came to an end, with a result that not us nor our supporters were expecting. We are as frustrated as you are with the outcome of matches.

"From the last one year, our team preparation was not to a level that a captain would want it or needed for a big tournament. Moreover, in some of the last tours the team management, selection committee and I were not on the same page, which had implications on the team balance.

"Therefore, with due respect, effectively immediately I announce to step down as a captain and will continue to play for my country when the management and team need me.

"I thank every single one of you from the bottom of my heart who came to the grounds despite matches being affected by the rain and those who supporters us worldwide, your love truly means a lot to us. Long live Afghanistan."

Nabi led his team for 23 completed games overall, with 10 wins and 13 defeats.

Australia's narrow win over Afghanistan on Friday sent New Zealand through to the T20 World Cup semi-finals and set England a straightforward target to join them.

England need only a victory against Sri Lanka in Saturday's final Group 1 match to be sure of a place in the last four.

Hosts and defending champions Australia had been facing an uphill battle to improve their run rate ever since an 89-run thrashing at the hands of the Black Caps in their opener.

With their meeting with England rained off, the margin of victory in other matches was going to prove pivotal.

Although Australia survived a scare in beating Afghanistan by four runs, that tight affair left their net run rate at -0.173, below England's mark of +0.547, which will improve further with victory over Sri Lanka.

The home nation therefore need Sri Lanka to defeat England and keep them in the top two on seven points.

Stand-in Australia captain Matthew Wade said: "We'll stay the extra night here and watch that game. We'll be hoping for a little bit of an upset there, obviously.

"That's tournament play – we put ourselves in this situation straight from the get-go this time. Although we've been trying to chase a little bit of run rate, it just hasn't really gone our way.

"We've been a little bit slow getting out of the blocks in this tournament. Hopefully it doesn't cost us."

Glenn Maxwell struck a similar tone, saying: "We'll certainly be following it. We've obviously put ourselves in this situation, but hopefully Sri Lanka can do the job for us."

Although Maxwell scored an unbeaten 54 off 32 against Afghanistan, he added: "It was quite hard to press the issue.

"We probably got to about the 12-over mark, where we just had to put a total on the board to make sure we gave ourselves a chance of winning the game.

"Even though we were trying to go hard at the back end, they bowled extremely well."

If Sri Lanka can do Australia a huge favour, Wade is "very hopeful" skipper Aaron Finch and all-rounder Tim David will return for the semi-finals.

David was "really, really close" but failed a late fitness test on Friday, Wade added.

Glenn Maxwell posted an unbeaten half-century as Australia edged Afghanistan in a four-run victory to boost their T20 World Cup semi-final chances at Adelaide Oval.

The defending champions, skippered by stand-in Matthew Wade in the absence of the injured Aaron Finch, set a total of 168-8 thanks to a fine 54 not out from their middle-order batsman.

With handy support from Mitchell Marsh (45) and Marcus Stoinis (25), the hosts seldom looked as if they would be seriously troubled by their Group 1 rivals.

But Naveen-ul-Haq's tidy figures of 3-21 gave Afghanistan an achievable target to chase, and a strong third-wicket partnership between Gulbadin Naib (39) and Ibrahim Zadran (26) kept them firmly in the hunt.

After Maxwell effected a run-out of the former, a top-order collapse appeared to spell the end for Mohammad Nabi's side, but a thrilling final burst from Rashid Khan (48) guided them close to an upset with a 164-7 finish.

Success vaults Australia into the top two for now, but their progress to the last four will only be confirmed if England fail to overcome Sri Lanka in Sydney on Saturday, due to an inferior net run rate.

Magic Maxwell spares blushes

Make no mistake, this was far from a poor Australia performance, but with a negative net run rate at the end, it was not quite up to the mark they would have hoped to achieve.

No accusations can be levelled at Maxwell, however, whose knock off 32 balls was arguably trumped in importance by his direct hit to dismiss Naib, stopping Afghanistan's momentum and turning the tide.

Khan showcases stirring stuff

Few players are quite as exciting to watch as the Afghanistan man when he is in full flight, and so it proved again after he set up a surprisingly tense finale.

His innings, taken off 23 balls with four maximums, was up there with the best at this tournament. 

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