Australia keep T20 World Cup semi-final hopes alive with win over Afghanistan

Australia were given a scare before defeating Afghanistan, but the T20 World Cup hosts will be eliminated at the Super 12s stage if England beat Sri Lanka on Saturday.

Having posted 168 for eight at Adelaide, buttressed by Glenn Maxwell’s 54 not out off 32 balls, Australia needed to keep Afghanistan to a score of 106 or fewer to get ahead of England’s net run-rate.

Even restricting their opponents to 117 or under would have meant net run-rate remained a big talking point, but Afghanistan went past both scores after a wobble before Rashid Khan threatened a huge upset.

Some destructive lower-order hitting from Rashid brought the equation down to 11 off two balls although Marcus Stoinis held his nerve to seal what might still be a priceless four-run win for Australia.

However, the T20 World Cup defending champions’ bid to reach the semi-finals hinges on Sri Lanka overcoming England, who go into the clash knowing they can win by the slimmest possible margin to finish in the top two.

For now Australia leapfrogged England into second place after moving level on seven points with New Zealand, who guaranteed their spot in the last four after beating Ireland earlier on in the day.