A whole new experience
It is hard to describe how I feel after our match against India. I am very proud of our team and the fact we gave a good account of ourselves in our opening match on the world stage. However, we do feel a bit disappointed that we didn’t play a bit better and that makes us even more determined to do well against South Africa in our next match.
At every tournament we have played in our extraordinary journey over the past couple of years, we have always learned from our mistakes, and I really hope that we can do this again, although it is obviously a lot harder when you are playing against the best in the world.
We lost against Singapore in World Cricket League Division 5 and went on to win the tournament, we were defeated by Uganda in Division 3 and also lifted the trophy there, and recovered from some early defeats at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in 2009 to come within touching distance of qualifying for that event. We are serious when we say we want to go and beat South Africa and qualify for the last eight of this competition.
We did find the batting conditions a bit difficult early on and obviously it was a challenge to deal with some of the Indian pace bowlers, who are much quicker than what we are used to facing.
It would have been interesting to see what may have happened if India had lost the toss and had to bat first, but I thought Noor Ali batted brilliantly to score a half-century. It was just a shame we lost too many wickets towards the end, as at one stage we did look like we were going to get a bigger score.
I thought Shapoor Zadran bowled really well and I was also pleased with my efforts. I just focused on trying to bowl a good length, vary my pace, and tried to bowl as many dot balls as I could manage. Although I was obviously pleased to get a wicket, it was just unfortunate the match had pretty much been lost by that stage.
We have obviously been used to playing in front of some big crowds before, particularly at the qualifier for this event when we had thousands of Afghans cheering us on in Dubai, but I don’t think I have ever played in an atmosphere quite like the one in St Lucia today.
The music is blaring from the PA system, there are people screaming and dancing, there are lots of musical instruments and it looks like people are having a party in stands!
One of the other major differences is that I had never played a match where they show the game live on the big screen in the ground with video replays. When I dropped my catch I just couldn’t help looking at the screen again, to see what went wrong. At least if I dropped a catch when I was playing in the World Cricket League Division 5, I wouldn’t have to watch it being shown over and over again to everybody, so there are some disadvantages in us becoming famous!
It was great to receive messages from friends, family and supporters, telling us how they thought we had done really well. It is crazy to think how passionate our supporters are when most of them would never have had a chance to see us play until today. I hope we did them proud.
We may have lost, but we all tried our hardest, and I will never ever forget the day when I played for my country against India at the ICC World Twenty20.