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Arriving at the ground this morning, I wasn’t expecting us to lose to the Netherlands, but we didn’t score enough runs and made too many mistakes in the field, dropping important catches and conceding far too many extras.
I don’t think it was the pressure of the game that got to us, since we have really improved those areas of our game recently. Mohammad Nabi bowled really well though and although I tried my best I couldn’t get an early wicket in my spell.
I hope that we can do much better tomorrow, as we know so much riding on the game. It is agonising to think that we are so close to going to the Caribbean but that we also may miss out on playing in another major event having failed to qualify for the 50-over World Cup last year. I can only imagine how busy the internet cafes will be back at home tomorrow with everybody following the live scores on the internet.
We are confident going into the match against the UAE as they are a team that we have beaten twice in the ACC Twenty20 Cup in November. We know what they are capable of and they have obviously been playing extremely well in the tournament so far, so we will treat them with a lot of respect. I certainly hope I’m not required to score 10 runs off the last two balls to win the game like I was last year – it would be much nicer for my nerves to have a comfortable victory!
We are all going to watch the Ireland-UAE match this afternoon and see if there is anything we can pick up ahead of our final Super Four game. Kabir Khan, our coach, used to be in charge of the UAE side, so I am sure he will be able to provide us with plenty of insights as well. We will then head back to the team hotel, get some dinner, and it will be another early night for me. I would like to thank all the Afghanistan supporters who turned up to watch the match today – the noise was incredible – and I hope they can all come again tomorrow. I would also like to thank everybody for their comments on yesterday’s blog. Lots of people seem to have been very interested in my love of the film Rocky!
Just like Rocky, we have all put up so many hours in training to help us achieve our dreams of playing in a major international event. In fact, running up and down the stairs in the Olympic Stadium in Kabul as part of our training camp in the build-up to this tournament reminded me of the film.
It would certainly make the pain of all those training days worthwhile if we can get back to our winning ways tomorrow by showing our champion qualities and achieve qualification for the World Twenty20.
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Assistant editor Sahil Dutta grew up supporting England during the 90s. Despite this, he still enjoys the game. His unrequited passions for Graeme Hick and, in latter years, Vikram Solanki gave him a stoicism that guided him through an Economics degree and a stint working at the European Parliament. He maintains the purest love for Tests and the whims of legspin bowling and still harbours hope that he could be the answer to England's long search for a mystery spinner. As it is, his most exciting cricketing experience was planning a trip to Australia for the 2006-07 Ashes with two utterly indifferent friends. Unfortunately his lung collapsed shortly before his planned departure and the pair were left to wander around from Test to Test, unprepared and clueless. Any comparisons with England are far too obvious to make. That cancelled holiday inspired an Ashes blog which led, via some tea-making at the Wisden Cricketer, to the ESPNcricinfo towers.