ICC World Cup Qualifiers April 3, 2009

Our versatility is helping us

Hamid Hassan, the Afghanistan bowler, blogs for Cricinfo from the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in South Africa

Hamid Hassan, the Afghanistan bowler, blogs for Cricinfo from the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in South Africa.

I am so excited that we have won our first two matches at the ICC World Cup Qualifiers and that we are on course to qualify for the Super Eight stages.

In our first match against Denmark, I never expected Karim Khan, who is our wicketkeeper, to come on to bowl and take four wickets– he changed the game. He only started bowling as he had injured his finger, which meant he couldn’t keep wicket, so it showed what a lucky team we are.

Karim is a very important player for us, with his batting, bowling and wicketkeeping. It is great to see him back in form with the bat, as he hadn’t scored that many runs in previous events, but when he is playing well he gives us a great start to the innings as he scores so quickly. He is also a real character and is very noisy, as he really enjoys his cricket and is always trying to have lots of fun.

We had a really good run chase and everybody batted really well and it was nice to reach our target very comfortably.

Against Bermuda, Karim again gave us a good start, but we suffered a major batting collapse, which has happened in previous qualifying events. I don’t know why this occurs but we always seem to recover and Nowroz, our captain, is perfect for these type of situations as he loves batting under pressure and has the ability to bat for a long time and then score quick runs at the end.

The number of runs we scored in the last few overs was very important as it gave us a good target to bowl at and it was important that we got a couple of good early wickets.

Sami [Shenwari], [Mohammad] Nabi and myself then bowled really well, keeping the runs down and taking regular wickets, and we really deserved our victory.

It was great to beat a country that played in the last World Cup and show everybody that we are capable of competing against countries that have ODI status.

I am really excited about our match against Kenya on Saturday and we know that we need to win another group game if we are to progress to the Super Eights. I am looking forward to bowling to Steve Tikolo and will be doing my best to get him out.

I remember watching them in the 2003 World Cup when they got to the semi-final. I watched the matches on my television at home in Peshawar. It is unbelievable that we are going to be playing against a team that has got that far in the World Cup and it should be a great match.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo