Bangladesh v Afghanistan, Asia Cup, Fatullah March 1, 2014

Cricket will grow even more now - Stanikzai


Afghanistan have reached their greatest triumph in only their fourth game against a Full Member nation, something which they believe is in itself a massive achievement. So much so, that the country's president Hamid Karzai has already made the congratulatory call to the captain Mohammad Nabi.

"Everyone is happy back home," Nabi told ESPNcricinfo. "The president just called us to wish everyone. We are just too happy. The boys played brilliantly. Samiullah and Stanikzai were our winning partnership. They took us out of trouble and gave us a good score to defend."

Asghar Stanikzai, who made an unbeaten 90 to set up the 32-run win over Bangladesh, said that it will have a massive impact back in their homeland.

"It is a historical win for Afghanistan," Stanikzai said. "This is fourth time we played against a big nation. It is a huge achievement because I don't think any Associate member beat a Full Member in their fourth exposure.

"Every single victory counts big back home. It has a huge impact. Cricket will grow even more with this victory. It is a positive advocacy of cricket at home. We have achieved a lot in a short time. This will bring a lot of happiness and prosperity back home. Everyone will be celebrating back home."

Stanikzai described how he planned his innings, a fantastic effort under the circumstances as he and Man of the Match Samiullah Shenwari turned the tide from being down on 90 for 5 in the 27th over. It was a technically brilliant innings, and complemented well with Shenwari's freedom with the bat.

"My main job is to play as long as possible, play the 50 overs. The other batsmen play around me. The situation was not good for us.

"I had to stay and focus on each single ball. I scored 30-odd in 70-plus balls. I know my capability, I can make 70 off 30 balls. I had to take the game till the end and make it a bit longer. It paid off, and we made 100 in the last 10 overs."

When defending the total, Afghanistan attacked Bangladesh in front and then took four wickets in eight balls between the end of the 40th over to the start of the 42nd.

They dropped five catches, four off Nasir Hossain's bat during his 41, and one when Ziaur Rahman made a last-ditch attempt. Stanikzai joked about the catches, the first of which was dropped by him, but admitted that it was indeed a bit of nerves that affected him.

"We didn't want to beat Bangladesh so comprehensively, so we dropped a few catches (smiles)," Stanikzai said. "Jokes apart, it is a history making for every single boy. They are very excited and happy. That might be the case why one or two chances went down."

So how does Afghanistan celebrate? Team manager Shafiqullah Stanikzai said that it is by doing a traditional Pashto dance.

"Normally we celebrate with the Attan," the manager said. "It is our traditional dance and we do it quite a lot. I think Shapoor [Zadran] and [Mohammad] Shahzad are the party-makers for us and they will do the party."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Pooja on March 6, 2014, 10:44 GMT

    I absolutely loved watching Afghanistan play during the Asia Cup 2014 sponsored by Cycle Pure Agarbathies. The only team tat I was looking forward to see how they have improved since they are the latest entrants to Asia Cup. Lets see who takes away the trophy? Will it be Pakistan or Sri Lanka?

  • Smart on March 2, 2014, 13:49 GMT

    @Trevor Landers - Everyone said the similar thing about ENG when they lost to BD in the WC - 'Oh the ignominy for a woeful ENGLAND side. Well done Bangladesh!'. People say the same WOEFUL things about ENG these days!

  • Dummy4 on March 2, 2014, 12:41 GMT

    Oh the ignominy for a woeful Bangladeshi side. Well done Afghanistan!

  • Usman on March 2, 2014, 10:47 GMT

    The idea that Afghanistani players become what they are because of playing in Pakistan is a very flawed idea...If thats really the case then UAE should`ve been the Australia of Cricket because all of their players are from the sub-continent and many of them played first class Cricket in Pakistan,India and Sri Lanka so why are they not so good...Same could be applied to USA,Canada and Hong Kong.USA and Canada even had some West Indian players in their ranks so why aren't they good.The fact of the matter is that the Afghani spirit is just something nobody else has.They manage to keep a smile even though for most of their lives they have only seen a a war torn country.First by the Russians and then by the Americans and who knows who`ll be there next.So Pakistan fans have to stop taking credit where its not due.

  • Dummy4 on March 2, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    I love <3 Afghanistan

  • Anil on March 2, 2014, 6:50 GMT

    If India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka help Afghanistan and Nepal, Asia will become a strong hub for cricket, there will be more competition and it will be good for Cricket. Asia will have 6 good sides. UAE can also become a good side, if they field more locals rather than promoting expatriates in their team.

  • Altaf on March 2, 2014, 6:48 GMT

    Moral boosting moments for entire Afghanistan. This will give motivates more Afghans for Cricket and will provide them exposure for other games like Soccer etc as well.

  • Yohan on March 2, 2014, 6:48 GMT

    Congrats to Afghanistan team . As a sri lankan fan i always root underdogs / associates to do well . we saw Zimbabwe entering to test in 90s , Bangladesh in 2000 kenya creating upsets 96 & 2003 WC and Netherland tie England in T20 WC . But all these above mentioned countries disappointed us afterwords . Currently Afghanistan and Ireland are doing really well . I keep Afghanistan behind Ireland for the time being because Ireland was on spotlight from 2009 in international scene and still showing consistency by their stranded . Afghnistan should follow that step . now they are in limelight and tough journey begins , now on you will see oppositions coming hard at you . but believe yourself , you have a journey ahead .

  • Pankaj on March 2, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    Kudos to Afghanistan. Hardly would any Associate country have climbed up the ladder so speedily. Fans look forward to them being part of the ODI calendar soon. Then Tests in 2-3 years from now? If they make a habit of such fighting performances, it can be envisaged.

  • Taimur on March 2, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    Great Comprehensive victory, they played beautifully both their games so far, giving Pak real threat and then beating BD is just as good it could get for them... i am sure Afhanistan will only go positive from here and become a top cricketing team within 5 years!!! Shahpoor's pace is so impressive, being a fast bowler i love his passion and pace he bowls with, lil bit of Shoaib Akhtar style he need to show lil more agression towards batsmen to get more wickets, he is top class and afghan team is top class, well done cograts from Pakistani who supports Afghans after pakistan... cheers boys, many best wishes.......

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