On Thursday, Afghans grieved the conclusion of their T20 World Cup aspirations but expressed optimism for the future due to the national cricket team's historic achievement of reaching their first semifinal. Hundreds of men, including armed Taliban members, gathered at Kabul Cricket Stadium to watch South Africa defeat Afghanistan by nine wickets on large screens. Despite high expectations following their unprecedented victory over Australia, the crowd supported the team even as they were bowled out for just 56 runs. The atmosphere was somber, contrasting with the jubilant scenes after previous wins, as the crowd dispersed following South Africa's decisive victory.

Tila Mohammad Kharotai, a spectator, praised the team, suggesting they might have been emotionally drained from their recent victory against Bangladesh. He emphasized, 'They made Afghans proud and raised our flag high in the stadiums.' The unexpected success in the World Cup provided a rare occasion for nationwide celebration amidst ongoing conflicts and crises. Fans like Aziz Rahman Rahmani pledged continued support, stating, 'The Afghan cricket team is more than a cricket team; it's a source of joy and unity for Afghans.'

The event at the stadium, organized by the national cricket board, saw many Taliban members in attendance, waving their flag while supporting the team that still displayed the previous government's flag. Taliban anthems were played during breaks, calling for unity and rebuilding. Security was heightened, and the event was exclusively male, reflecting the broader ban on women in sports.

Shkula Danish, watching from home, was disappointed by the loss but Javid Momand, a university lecturer, celebrated the team's overall performance, proud of their representation of Afghanistan. As spectators like Tila Mohammad left the stadium, they held onto hope for future triumphs, envisioning a day when Afghanistan might win the World Cup.