Asia Cup 2014 February 28, 2014

Afghanistan's statement of intent


'Dropped catch cost us the game' - Kabir Khan

Afghanistan's maiden Asia Cup match, in which they gave Pakistan a small scare before losing by 72 runs, was a statement of intent to their next opponent, Bangladesh, according to their coach Kabir Khan. Afghanistan play Bangladesh in the Asia Cup on March 1, before playing them again in the first round of the World Twenty20.

"We are thinking of our World Twenty20 match against them [Bangladesh]," Kabir said. "We have to beat them to move to the second round. We want to put extra pressure on them.

"Everyone in this team wants to win. They know how much one win can change the team and the nation. Our cause is different than the four other teams who have come here to be champions. We are here to change the future of our nation for the next 10 years."

Afghanistan performed creditably against Pakistan, reducing them to 117 for 6 in the 30th over. Kabir said the next significant event in the game made all the difference. On 28, Umar Akmal skied a ball from Shapoor Zadran towards point, were Samiullah Shenwari dropped it. Akmal made his second ODI hundred to take Pakistan to 248 for 8.

"If we got them out for cheaper and if the dew factors came in, it would have been easy for us to chase the runs," Kabir said. "Unluckily, the dew factor didn't come in [today]. The turning point was the drop catch.

"I think if he [Shenwari] had caught that catch, that would have been the turning factor. I am happy with the team the way they bowled. If you see the first two matches, there were scores close to 300 and that was chased down. This is the first time for our team in the Asia Cup and they reduced a world class team to 250 runs."

Kabir was happy with the way his team played overall. Noor Ali Zadran, Asghar Stanikzai and Nawroz Mangal were steady with the bat, showing much-needed solidity for an Associate nation with little experience on a big stage.

"They are my heroes, whether they win or lose," Kabir said. "We have come a long way in five or six years with the facilities we have. Doing so well against teams who have a lot more facilities and money, it makes me proud.

"We put pressure on them today. The Pakistan players and officials had high blood pressure till about the last ten overs of the game."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Suj on March 1, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    @ Billal Koh # Afkanada PT # Waheed Shirzay # - Wow you lot look like you might turn out to be more brash and arrogant than these Bangladesh fans ... Barely arrived on the international scene and you are already dissing other countries and making foolish predictions about beating India and Pakistan! India and Pakistan are light years ahead of you guys! They might occasionally lose once in a blue moon to an ordinary team like Bangladesh. But never to newbie like Afghanistan no chance not in the next decade but even the one after!

  • Android on March 1, 2014, 5:04 GMT

    @waheed sherzai afghanistan was playing with one of the top bowling strength team not with Zimbabwe pakistan has got the best bowlers in the world saeed ajmal,umargul etc

  • Dummy4 on March 1, 2014, 4:47 GMT

    @bouncer709 Kabir khan's a scouting agent for Pakistani youth teams, how can you coach a team when you don't know their language, and the part of Pakistan we stayed to "learn" cricket is our own land, at least we didn't sell ourselves to the english for it. Save your cheer and pity for yourself.

  • Dummy4 on March 1, 2014, 2:02 GMT

    to Bounce 709. please do not remind us with past. Afghans are very proud nation. yes it is true we learn this game in Pakistan, but it does not mean we have to keep Kabir Khan or any other couch from Pakistan. it was better to say do we have money to hire someone from Australia, or England? at the same time most of your couches were from other countries, though. finally just wait for 5 to 10 years more we Afghans will beat you and India, as we did in football. it is just the matter of time and peace in our country.

  • Dummy4 on March 1, 2014, 1:51 GMT

    I think the passive and very reluctant bathing of Asgher Stanakzy, and Dawlat Zadran were the big and only cause for losing the game against Pakistan. i also agree with Waheed Shirzay about having the same mistake repeatedly done by the couch, and some players, by losing to Pakistan twice. we started well at the beginning, and then suddenly losing the game. i think we do not have to be in rush from the beginning and then so scared at the end. Stanakzy played what they call it in Pakistan tak took player.

  • Dummy4 on February 28, 2014, 22:37 GMT

    You lot make me laugh. In 2008 you struggled to beat Jersey and lost to Singapore in WCL5. Be proud of how far your country has come against huge obstacles. I honestly believe that regular success versus major powers is still several years away when current Under 19s are part of national team. Don t have ridiculous dreams that the current team can be world beaters

  • Golam on February 28, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    I love this Afgan team ! Wonderful bowling unit they have ... but I think they must improve their batting ! Nothing to loose .... ?? Got to attack some more & play the way as they use to in T20 !!! Need some maturity only .... then I am sure that they can provide some great cricket in near future ! Good luck AFG !!!

  • Ata on February 28, 2014, 11:55 GMT

    @Waheed Shirzay: you want to remove Kabir Khan as a coach, do your country have any coach from your own to coach your team? remove Kabir khan who you will bring next coach? Indian? Bangladeshi? Srilanakan? Afghans stayed here in Pakistan and learned the cricket here, and Pakistan people cheers for your team, but guys like you make us to think otherway

  • Dummy4 on February 28, 2014, 10:23 GMT

    It is foolish to criticise Nabi's captaincy because he is miles better than Mangal. Till 40 overs when Pakistan was struggling in 150 for 6, it was Nabi's fielding strategy who forced them to make errors. I will always want to see one captain and he is none other than the classy Nabi

  • Dummy4 on February 28, 2014, 10:19 GMT

    Kabir Khan should be removed because he has no such quality to beat big teams. We almost made the same mistakes every big game we played and same plan and this won't help us. Not to select the best bowler of the team in Hamid Hassan proves my critics right about this guy. Pakistan would have been knocked out of the tournament with losing this game and Kabir Khan who is Pakstani did not play Hamid Hassan to do that simple is that. Hamis Hassan is as vital for us as Kohli for India, Malinga for Sri Lanka and Ajmal for Pakistan. Sack Kabir Khan

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