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T20 World Cup: Huge thanks to BCCI for hosting them, says Sreesanth on Afghanistan's semis entry

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New Delhi, June 25 (IANS) Former India pacer S. Sreesanth lauded Afghanistan for their historic achievement of reaching the semifinals at the T20 World Cup and also highlighted BCCI's constant support during their meteoric rise in international cricket. Afghanistan defeated Bangladesh by eight runs in a thrilling Super Eight encounter on Tuesday to knock out Australia from the tournament. Earlier, they outclassed Australia to pave the way for their semifinal journey.

Afghanistan have played their "home" games in Greater Noida, Dehradun, and Lucknow's Ekana Stadium since 2015. They do not play their home matches in Afghanistan.

"The world of cricket loves Afghanistan. A huge thanks to BCCI also for getting them venues like a home team. And the kind of encouragement the Afghanistan team gets is unbelievable. And lots of respect to Rashid Khan. The way that he's been leading. More like a brotherhood. And it's so nice to see him literally having a laugh out. And you saw that with those emotions when they were playing," Sreesanth said during Star Sports Press Room.

The 2007 T20 World Cup winner heaped praise on Afghanistan head coach Jonathan Trott for guiding his side to success against Bangladesh.

"Especially today's game when they won. It was unbelievable. He spoke about the victory after the game and said thank you to his nation. And what it means not just from the cricketing point of view but from the point of view of life. The inspiration which a lot of Afghans are going to get back home. It's going to be incredible. And all with respect to Jonathan Trott. He's a great guy. Great coach now. I have never seen him this animated. We could watch Trott literally shouting and screaming. It was so good to see Trott in that role. Afghanistan was executing those plans really well. I think that's a success for them," he added.

On Australia's 24-run loss against India on Monday which derailed their semifinal hopes, former Australia spinner Brad Hogg said they were not prepared for the match while criticising Mitchell Starc's bowling strategy against Rohit Sharma, who hammered 92 off 41 balls studded with eight sixes and seven fours.

"I thought they weren't prepared. This is a worry with Mitchell Starc. If the ball is not swinging, it doesn't change his length quickly enough. And he didn't change his length quickly enough to Rohit Sharma as well when he got hit for 29 runs there. And there was one moment when Rohit Sharma jumped out at the wicket. And then you saw Mitchell Starc turn around. And I don't know whether he said Rohit's hitting with the wind or there's no swing there. That was a moment where I thought Australia were in a lot of trouble.

"They're not going to come back because they were starting just to look at what's going wrong rather than looking for the solutions. So, that's probably where it went wrong. And also, dropping Hardik Pandya, it was an easy catch there for Mitchell Marsh, the skipper, with a couple of overs to go. And I think Hardik scored 22 off the next 10 balls. You can't afford to drop Hardik Pandya when you've just bought your way back into the game. That was also crucial," he added.

Afghanistan will lock horns with South Africa in the first semifinal while India will take on defending champions England in the second on Thursday.



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