England eye T20 World Cup semi-final spot after Australia's tense win over Afghanistan

Three Lions can qualify for last four stage with victory over Sri Lanka on Saturday

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England only need victory against the already eliminated Sri Lanka on Saturday to book their spot in the T20 World Cup semi-finals after hosts and defending champions Australia battled to victory against Afghanistan.

Australia survived a scare against Afghanistan by four runs in Adelaide on Friday in their final Super 12 match to move to second spot in Group 1, level with table-toppers New Zealand on seven points.

If England defeat Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground, they will move up to second on seven points and qualify for the semi-finals.

New Zealand, Australia and England will all be locked on seven points in that scenario. But the Black Caps have the best net run rate among the top teams, so are already through. England will then qualify as they have a superior net run rate compared to Australia's who are in the negative.

The Aussies made their task difficult after losing to the Kiwis badly by 89 runs in the tournament opener and barely holding on against the Afghans.

Glenn Maxwell's 32-ball 54 lifted Australia to 168-8 in the face of an effervescent Afghan bowling attack in what was a must-win match for the home side at the Adelaide Oval.

Glenn Maxwell's fifty helped Australia defeat Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup on Friday. Getty

Rashid Khan blazed an unbeaten 48 off 23 balls to make a fist of the chase for the winless Afghans and ensure a nervy end for the majority of the crowd.

"We probably haven't put a complete game together," said man of the match Maxwell.

"There was a couple of games last year during the World Cup where we probably did. Almost back-to-back, there were clinical performances. We did the game quickly and we were pretty sharp in all areas of the game.

"We've probably missed a few opportunities so far this year."

Meanwhile, Mohammad Nabi stepped down as Afghanistan captain on Friday after the Asian country were eliminated from the Twenty20 World Cup without winning a single match.

Nabi said he was resigning due to differences with the selectors after Afghanistan lost their final T20 Super 12 match to Australia.

They finished the tournament as the only team without a win, with three defeats and two games abandoned due to rain.

"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," Nabi wrote on Twitter.

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

Updated: November 05, 2022, 4:36 AM
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