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. 

Wanindu Hasaranga dazzled with the ball and Dhananjaya de Silva shone with the bat as Sri Lanka crushed Afghanistan by six wickets at the T20 World Cup to bolster their semi-final hopes.

After defeats to Australia and New Zealand, Sri Lanka could not afford another slip-up and produced a commanding performance at the Gabba.

Afghanistan were limited to 144-8, in which six batters reached double figures, but nobody went further than Rahmanullah Gurbaz's 28 at the top of the order.

That was in a large part down to man of the match Hasaranga's wily leg spin that brought him brilliant figures of 3-13, including the wickets of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman in the final over.

Sri Lanka were 46-2 after 7.5 overs of their reply, but Dhananjaya was in no mood to let this one slip away, and his sublime unbeaten 66 from 42 balls saw the team home.

He cracked two sixes and six fours, including the boundary through cover that saw Sri Lanka over the winning line with nine balls to spare, reaching 148-4, nicely teeing up their final Group 1 game against England at the SCG on Saturday.

Hail Hasaranga

Already the leading performer with the ball in this year's tournament, Hasaranga's haul improved his tally to 13 wickets, and trimmed his average to 13.53.

This time around he delivered 12 dot balls and avoided being struck for a boundary as Afghanistan struggled to read him, defeat ending their hopes of going any further.

Mujeeb edges nearer landmark

Mujeeb Ur Rahman took 2-24 for Afghanistan, removing Pathum Nissanka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa, to reach 48 wickets in T20Is. After washouts against Ireland and New Zealand, he and his team-mates would have been glad to play some part in a contest on Tuesday.

Now off-spinner Mujeeb has one more chance while at this tournament to become the third Afghanistan bowler to reach 50 T20I wickets, with Afghanistan rounding off their campaign against hosts Australia on Friday in Adelaide.

Ireland and Afghanistan were beaten by the weather as their T20 World Cup clash at the MCG was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

The Group 1 fixture was hit by rain in Melbourne, a familiar experience for an Afghanistan team who suffered the same fate when their match against New Zealand at the same ground went the same way on Wednesday.

The no-result outcome left Afghanistan bottom of the group and at least briefly nudged Ireland up to second place, ahead of the scheduled match between England and Australia at the same ground later on Friday.

Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi said: "Most of the players are disappointed to not be playing in such a fantastic ground."

Ireland skipper Andy Balbirnie, whose side upset England in their second game, added: "We'd played some good cricket the other night and were looking forward to this fixture against a team we know pretty well. We can't do anything about the weather. We've just got two more games to give it our best to try to get into the semis."

New Zealand and Afghanistan were washed out in their second game of the T20 World Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The two sides failed to even get onto the wicket after the bad weather that forced a premature end to England's DLS-assisted defeat to Ireland at the same venue stuck around.

With not even a single ball bowled, the two teams both receive a point, which moves New Zealand top outright in Group 1 and gets Afghanistan off the mark.

The former had thrashed hosts Australia in an 89-run rout on Saturday to start their tournament off, while the latter had been downed by England in a five-wicket loss the same day.

No result hands a lifeline in particular to England, who face Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka with just one win under their belt following their shock loss on Wednesday.

The Black Caps will next play Sri Lanka in Sydney, while Afghanistan will remain in Melbourne to face Ireland.

Sam Curran became England's first bowler to take five wickets in a T20I and wants to keep his sizzling form going deep into the World Cup.

The left-arm seamer snaffled stunning figures of 5-10 from 3.4 overs, claiming four wickets from his final six balls as Afghanistan were bowled out for 112 before England started with a five-wicket win at Perth Stadium on Saturday.

Curran also caught the eye in a recent 2-0 win over hosts Australia and the all-rounder is revelling having the opportunity to play a key role.

"To come here and start with a win was obviously great, and Ireland on Wednesday will be another tricky game so we'll prepare well for that, fly to Melbourne tomorrow, and go again," Curran said at the post-match presentation.

"I'm just trying to be as adaptable as possible. Early in my career I was probably more suited to the powerplay, but I've tried to get better at different phases of the game. I'm really enjoying my cricket at the moment."

Assessing his five-wicket haul, Curran said: "You've got to enjoy the days when it goes well, and hopefully it goes well for the next five or six games."

Curran was sporting a trimmer haircut than usual, and he told Sky Sports: "The barber yesterday went a little bit short, so hopefully in a couple of games it'll grow out a bit, but I'll take some stick from my mates."

England might have hoped to finish this match in a little more style, with the top three batters each getting to double figures but failing to go on. 

Liam Livingstone's unbeaten 29 provided the impetus at the end of the innings to get the job done, moving England level on points with New Zealand after they hammered Australia.

"You saw the way the Afghanistan team made it quite tricky towards the end," Curran said. "We knew they had world-class spinners in the middle there and it was just nice to get the first victory over the line."

England took all of Afghanistan's wickets with catches, the first time 10 have gone down in a T20 World Cup game in such a manner.

"We really worked on our fielding over the last couple of weeks," said Curran. "We know it's going to be a huge factor in the tournament."

Sam Curran proved a cut above as England launched their T20 World Cup challenge with a five-wicket win against Afghanistan.

Curran took 5-10 from 3.4 overs at Perth Stadium on Saturday, a haul that included four wickets in six balls spread across his final two overs to become the first England bowler to take five wickets in a T20I.

Afghanistan crumbled to 112 all out as Curran tore through their lower order, with England reaching the victory target in 18.1 overs to move level on points with New Zealand in Group 1.

Left-arm seamer Curran was excellent with the ball in a recent series win over Australia and made another big impact in an Afghanistan innings that never got going.

Liam Livingstone, Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali held excellent catches for Jos Buttler's side, before Curran took centre stage. Mark Wood (2-23) and Ben Stokes (2-19) also impressed with the ball in a strong start for England.

Ibrahim Zadran top scored with 32 for Afghanistan, while England had four batters in double figures, Livingstone finishing with an unbeaten 29.

Classy Curran

Curran's previous best T20I bowling performance was the 3-25 he took against Australia just 10 days prior to this match. His economy rate of 2.72 in this five-star performance was his meanest in the short format, and he told Fox Sports: "At the start of the game, I did not expect to be walking off like that."

The all-rounder bowled 16 dot balls and conceded just one boundary, putting the squeeze on and reaping the rewards.

England record haul shows catches win matches

As Afghanistan fell short with the bat and dropped catches in the field, England's sharp fielding effort meant this was the first time in a T20 World Cup match that all 10 dismissals in an innings were catches.

The result also means England have won all three of their T20Is against Afghanistan, each meeting coming at World T20 level, at the 2012 and 2016 editions.

Sussex seamer Tymal Mills has been called up by England for the T20 World Cup following confirmation Reece Topley will miss the tournament through injury.

The Surrey bowler had been a doubt for the opener with Afghanistan on Saturday, before reports emerged this week he could pull out entirely.

Now, it has been confirmed he will fly home following a scan in Perth on Tuesday that revealed more serious ligament damage in his left ankle than initially feared.

It opens the door for Mills, a member of the England squad at last year’s T20 World Cup, to return to the fold after having only previously made the reserve cut.

He is handed the nod ahead of fellow understudy Richard Gleeson, with his left-arm approach a nearer direct match for the departing Topley.

Lancashire's Luke Wood meanwhile will now travel to Australia to join England as a travelling reserve following Mills' promotion to the full squad.

Reece Topley is set to be ruled out of the T20 World Cup, which would leave England without one of their leading bowlers in the shortest format.

The 28-year-old was originally listed as an injury doubt for England's first game of the competition against Afghanistan on Saturday.

But according to widespread reports, an assessment of his ankle injury has revealed a more serious problem than initially hoped, with Topley found to have sustained ligament damage.

Left-arm paceman Topley rolled his ankle during a fielding drill ahead of Monday's warm-up win over Pakistan at the Gabba.

The blow for Topley comes after he made an impressive return to the international stage following fears his career could be over due to back injuries.

He played in all three of England's matches in the recent T20I series win over Australia, having featured in four of the seven games in the 4-3 victory in Pakistan.

With 17 wickets, he is the team's leading wicket taker in T20Is in 2022, and his bowling at the end of the innings has been particularly impressive.

England cannot confirm the news until the ICC has ratified Topley's replacement, with fellow left-armer Tymal Mills and right-arm seamer Richard Gleeson among the reserves who have travelled with England.

Jos Buttler's side will go into their Group 1 opener as strong favourites to defeat Afghanistan at Perth Stadium.

England will face a qualifier in their second World Cup match next Wednesday, then take on hosts Australia two days later.

Reece Topley is an injury doubt for England's first game of the T20 World Cup against Afghanistan on Saturday.

The left-arm paceman rolled his ankle during a fielding drill ahead of Monday's warm-up win over Pakistan at the Gabba.

Topley will be assessed before Jos Buttler's side take on Afghanistan in their Group 1 opener at Perth Stadium.

England will face a qualifier in their second World Cup match next Wednesday, then face hosts Australia two days later.

The quick has made an impressive return to the international stage after fears his career could be over due to back injuries.

Topley played in all three of England's matches in the recent T20I series win over Australia, having featured in four of the seven games in the 4-3 victory in Pakistan.


It has been a long time coming but the T20 World Cup will finally get under way in Australia on Sunday.

Two years later than scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the tournament will start with Sri Lanka taking on Namibia at Kardinia Park followed by the United Arab Emirates versus the Netherlands at the same venue on Sunday.

There will be six days of qualifying matches to decide which four teams will go through to the Super 12, which starts with a repeat of last year's final between holders Australia and New Zealand on October 22.

You could make a case for several teams being strong contenders to lift the trophy at the MCG on November 13.

Stats Perform picks out some of the storylines to look out for in a tournament that will be well worth the wait.


Windies and Sri Lanka should avoid shock early exit

The only team to have won the T20 World Cup twice is West Indies, but they failed to secure direct qualification for the Super 12 on this occasion.

They lost four out of five matches as defending champions in the United Arab Emirates last year, a crushing six-wicket defeat to England setting the tone as they were skittled out for a pitiful 55.

Nicholas Pooran's side will face Scotland, Zimbabwe, Ireland at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart and will be expected to advance from Group B.

Sri Lanka were crowned Asia Cup champions last month and ought to have no trouble in advancing from a Group A that also includes the Netherlands, the UAE and Namibia.

On a high from lifting the trophy in Dubai, Dasun Shanaka's men could be dangerous if they made it through to the Super 12 as expected.


Hosts in quest to make history

Australia ended their wait for a first T20 World Cup title in Dubai last year at the expense of the Black Caps, Mitchell Marsh blasting an unbeaten 77 in the final to seal an eight-wicket win.

No team has won back-to-back T20 World Cup titles, so the hosts have an opportunity to make history on home soil.

Tim David has emerged as another potential match-winner that has bolted his way into the squad and he is capable of making a big impact, while big things will be expected from the likes of David Warner with the bat.

Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins are a formidable pace trio and leg-spinner Adam Zampa brings an X-Factor. Australia have a great chance of achieving a feat no other side has accomplished.

Can India make amends?

India were strongly fancied to win the rearranged T20 World Cup last year, but their challenge was all-but over soon after it had started.

They were consigned to a 10-wicket thrashing by fierce rivals in Pakistan in their first match and still looked shellshocked when New Zealand hammered them by eight wickets.

Virat Kohli stepped down as captain after that failure, with Rohit Sharma the skipper of what is another star-studded squad.

The loss of paceman Jasprit Bumrah and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja to injury were huge blows, but India will be expected to mount a strong challenge as the top-ranked side in the world and batter Suryakumar Yadav can make a big impact.

Buttler to deliver in first tournament as skipper?

England looked unstoppable in the World Cup last year until they were knocked out by New Zealand at the semi-final stage.

Jos Buttler has since taken over as captain after Eoin Morgan retired from international cricket, and Matthew Mott was appointed as head coach.

Buttler has recovered from injury for what will be his first tournament as skipper and will look to produce the sort of form he did in the 2021 World Cup, in which he averaged a staggering 89.66.

England have huge firepower with the bat, while Reece Topley, Mark Wood and Adil Rashid are among the bowlers Buttler will be counting on to step up as they strive to lift the trophy for a second time.


Proteas a force to be reckoned with

South Africa have never been beyond the semi-final of a T20 World Cup, but there is every chance this could be their year.

Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje are a hostile trio of pace bowlers and they also have the wizardry of spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.

The absence of Rassie van der Dussen is a big loss, but the Proteas are not short of explosive batting with the likes of Quinton de Kock, David Miller, Rillee Rossouw and Tristan Stubbs to call upon.

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