The win moved Australia into second place in Group 1 with seven points from five matches, the same as New Zealand, who became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals due to a better net run rate.
As it happened | Points Table
However, Australia could not get past England’s net run rate as the hosts had to restrict Afghanistan to 106 after posting 168 for eight.
That means if England beat Sri Lanka in their final match in Sydney on Saturday, they will also finish with seven points and join New Zealand in the semi-finals with a better net run rate from Group 1.
Glenn Maxwell was the top-scorer for Australia as he hit a quickfire fifty, but Afghanistan pulled things back nicely in the last five overs to restrict the defending champions to a decent total.
A narrow win for Australia keeps their net run rate in the negative! 👀If England beat Sri Lanka tomorrow, the hosts will… https://t.co/D8oCTUnbj1
— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) 1667562661000
Maxwell made an unbeaten 32-ball 54 that included six boundaries and two hits over the fence after Afghanistan invited Australia to bat.
In response, Afghanistan almost pulled off a sensational victory by riding on Rashid’s (48 not out from 23 balls) fireworks but ultimately fell short.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz got Afghanistan’s run off to a flying start with a 17-ball 30 during which he hit two boundaries and as many sixes, but Australia clawed their way back and removed both the openers.
Gulbadin Naib (39) and Ibrahim Zadran However, (26) was not in the mood to give up without a fight and scored 59 runs from 46 balls for the second wicket.
For a brilliant 32-ball 54* in a must-win game against Afghanistan, Glenn Maxwell is the @aramco POTM 🔥 https://t.co/QHQBNFLCgB
— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) 1667562617000
Both Naib and Zadran used the inside-out shots across the infield to good effect and kept the Afghans in the hunt.
It took a brilliant piece of work from Maxwell from the outfield to break the stand. Maxwell came up with a direct hit from deep mid-wicket to cut short Naib’s innings and then in the very next ball, Zadran edged Adam Zampa to Marsh.
Zampa delivered another missed shot to bowl Najibullah Zadran as Afghanistan lost the plot in the 14th over.
Towards the end, Rashid played some lusty shots and shared a quick 45 runs off 28 balls with Darwish Rasooli to reduce the equation to 22 off the last over.
Rashid managed to bat Marcus Stonis for two fours and one six in the last over, but it was not enough.
A good fight from Afghanistan but Australia came out on top in Adelaide 💪#AUSvAFG | #T20World Cup Tournament | 📝:… https://t.co/JBEijxnAgN
— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) 1667562194000
Australia lost Cameroon Green earlier but David Warner (25 off 18) and Mitchell Marsh (45 off 30) kept the run rate going with their fiery batting.
But two quick wickets in the sixth over in the form of Warner and Steve Smith reduced the hosts to 52 for 3 in the showdown.
While Warner was bowled by a Naveen-ul-Haq cutter when the batsman hit for an excessive switch, Smith was adjudged LBW three balls later.
Marsh then topped Mujeeb Ur Rahman (1/42) as he went for a sweep and Gurbaz took a fine high catch to take the batter as Australia were reduced to 86 for 4 in the 11th over .
Maxwell and Stoinis (25 off 21) then joined hands and shared 53 runs from just 29 balls for the fifth wicket.
While Maxwell looked in ominous form, cutting, pulling and lifting Afghan bowlers across the boundary, Stoinis struggled with his timing.
Stoinis had just two sixes during his 21-ball knock before giving a simple catch to Usman Ghani at backward point off Rashid.
Stand-in captain Matthew Wade didn’t trouble the scorers much either as he was cleaned up by Fazalhaq Farooqi’s toe-crushing yorker.
From 133 for 4 in 15 overs, Australia continued to lose wickets to lose the momentum as Maxwell found difficult boundaries after a promising start.
Maxwell brought up his fifty off 29 balls with a four off Farooqi in the last over and again found the fence in the last ball to end the innings on a high.