Afghanistan Cricket Team qualify for ICC World Cup 2015
DUBAI: Afghanistan secured a place in the Cricket World Cup for the first time in its history with an emphatic seven-wicket win over Kenya Friday 4th October 2013.
The victory means Afghanistan qualifies for Pool A in the 2015 World Cup, where it will meet powerhouses of world cricket, including co-hosts New Zealand and four-time champion Australia, as well as England, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Friday’s match in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates, was the most important in Afghanistan’s short cricket history – the national team was officially formed only in 2001 – but the pressure didn’t get the better of the team, which appeared in control throughout.
From winning the toss and containing Kenya to just two runs an over, to chasing down the paltry 93 run total with 29 of the allotted 50 overs remaining, Afghanistan was never in any real danger of letting this historic opportunity slip away.
Captain Mohammad Nabi was typically influential, taking two wickets for 10 runs and then top-scoring with 46 not out, just under half the Kenyan team’s entire total.
This was the last match in an eight-nation qualifying league that began two years ago and featured 56 matches. If Afghanistan had lost Friday, the U.A.E would have qualified in its place for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
But Afghanistan is in a good run of form, winning six One-Day Internationals in a row, including another win against Kenya on Wednesday.
Following that match, Nabi predicted plenty of celebrations in Afghanistan if the team went on to qualify for the World Cup.
“It’s a big achievement for Afghanistan cricket and Afghanistan to qualify for the World Cup in 2015… if we win Friday, we will celebrate – the team will be celebrating and the whole nation will be celebrating that win,” the International Cricket Council quoted the Afghan captain as saying.
Nabi was a star performer for Afghanistan at the World Twenty20 tournament in Sri Lanka last year, even giving the mighty India a brief scare with a 17-ball 31 runs before his team succumbed to the 2011 World Cup champion.
Afghanistan also qualified for the 2010 World T20 in the West Indies, but qualification for the 2015 World Cup is a more significant development for the country as this is the biggest tournament in the sport.
Friday’s result was also the latest in a series of sporting successes for Afghanistan, which in recent months beat the Indian under-23 cricket team in Singapore and also won the South Asian Football Federation Championship, its first international soccer title, with a 2-0 win against India in the final.
The World Cup qualification league, known as the ICC World Cricket League Championship, featured eight teams. Ireland topped the table and, like Afghanistan, has secured its place in the 2015 World Cup.
The other countries in the league were the U.A.E., the Netherlands, Scotland, Kenya, Namibia and Canada, which finished bottom with one win from 14. They all have another chance to qualify for the World Cup through a qualifying tournament next year, also featuring teams such as Hong Kong, Nepal and Papua New Guinea, to decide the final two spots in the tournament.