Afghanistan news August 3, 2013

Afghanistan to play Pakistan in one-off T20

ESPNcricinfo staff

Afghanistan will play Pakistan in a Twenty20 match in Sharjah, on December 8, the Afghanistan Cricket Board has announced. The match is a result of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Afghanistan and Pakistan boards, through which the PCB will aid the ACB in the lead-up to the 2015 World Cup.

"We are excited by the opportunity to play against a Full Member nation," Noor Mohammad Murad, the ACB's chief executive, said. "Win or lose, the experience gained by our players will be absolutely invaluable.

"One of the issues for Afghanistan cricket in recent years has been that we are among the top teams of the Associate and Affiliate members and we tend to win a high percentage of our matches against them. Our national team needs the challenge of playing against some of the elite cricket teams like Pakistan and Australia, in order to raise their performance level. So far only Pakistan and Australia have given us this opportunity, but we are hoping that more Full Member nations will follow their example."

Afghanistan have played four Twenty20s against Full Members, including South Africa, India and England, but those matches came in the 2010 and 2012 World Twenty20s. Outside of ICC tournaments, they've played one ODI each against Pakistan and Australia last year.

Understandably, they did not win any of those six games, but Murad remains confident of a strong showing in December. "We believe we can give the Pakistan team a good run for its money. T20 is one of our strengths and last year we gave India a scare in the World T20. We hope to give the Pakistan team a strong challenge and, who knows, maybe even more than that."