Khost beat Balkh in controversial encounter
A team which had originally been eliminated, has been reinstated to Etisalat Afghanistan Domestic fifty-over tournament, the country's main inter-provincial tournament, after its supporters staged a four-hour pitch invasion demanding a change to the events rules for determining semi-finalists according to a report on The Cricket Post website.
The report tells how Khost supporters' sit-in only ceased once the Afghanistan Cricket Board altered the rules so Khost would continue competing in the tournament. Under the original format, the two winners in each group with the highest run-rate were to proceed to the semi-finals. Khost was originally eliminated as they were third in Group A on run-rate behind Panjshir and Balkh.
It was expected that Panjshir and Balkh would play off on Saturday's match at the National Youth Cricket Ground in Kabul for a place in the quarter-finals. Khost, originally third in Group A objected chiefly on the grounds that Khost's provincial representative was not present at the ACB meeting where the tournament rules were decided.
The report alleges pressure from ministers in President Hamid Karzai’s cabinet, tribal leaders and parliamentarians was exerted on the ACB. The report then says ACB sources told The Cricket Post that they were asked not to upset Khost’s spectators. Sources added, ACB had feared Khostis riot may lead to a fight in the ground.
The local crowd continued to display poor behaviour during the match, with over-the-top celebration when ever their side picked a wicket or scored a boundary, culminating in a pitch invasion once Khost sealed victory.
25 overs Khost 110 for 8 beat Balkh 99 all out by 11 runs