Afghanistan v Kenya, WCL Championship, Sharjah October 3, 2013

Afghanistan on brink of 'national celebration'

ESPNcricinfo staff
44

Afghanistan need just one more win in the World Cricket League (WCL) Championship to secure a first ever World Cup berth and write another heartwarming chapter in the nation's cricketing story. Victory over Kenya, the team they crushed by eight wickets on Wednesday, will move them into second in the table and an automatic spot at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Afghanistan became an ICC Affiliate member in 2001, only receiving Associate status earlier this year. They narrowly missed out on reaching the 2011 World Cup, despite starting the qualification process in the bottom group, but have provided a colourful presence at the last two World Twenty20s.

"It's a big achievement for Afghanistan cricket and Afghanistan to qualify for the World Cup in 2015," Mohammad Nabi, the team's captain, said. "We've got one more game left and if we win on Friday, we will celebrate - the team will be celebrating and the whole nation will be celebrating that win."

Beating Kenya for the second time in three days would lift Afghanistan to 19 points, behind Ireland, who have already guaranteed their World Cup place. The match in Sharjah is the final fixture in the WCL Championship, which began more than two years ago. Should Afghanistan slip up, then UAE will be the beneficiaries, going through to the World Cup proper for the first time since 1996.

Afghanistan will again rely on players such as bandana-wearing fast bowler Hamid Hassan, who took 4 for 19 on Wednesday, former captain Nawroz Mangal and fellow opener Mohammad Shahzad, purveyor of his own version of the "helicopter shot".

"Thanks to our nation and to our supporters who came here to support our team, as well as the players who played really well, our fast bowler Hamid Hassan and spin bowler Samiullah Shenwari," Nabi said after the game. "We will now try even harder for our next game to play positively."

Should they progress, then fixtures against the hosts, Australia and New Zealand, as well as England, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Pool A will await. The six remaining teams in the WCL Championship will have another chance to get to the 2015 World Cup, via a one-off qualifying tournament, to be held in New Zealand early next year, taking on Hong Kong, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Uganda to determine the final two spots.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ozone8237 on October 3, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    Playing in a world cup is an honor, a recognition of one's achievements and If Afghanistan qualified for the WC 2015 which i am pretty sure they will then the time is not too far when they will be awarded the ODI status and so on.. The captain Mohammad Nabi, Fast Bowler Hamid Hassan and a few other Afghan Players have world class material in them and their coach, Kabir Khan, is trying his best to polish their talent and bring out more and more every day. Watch out Big guns Afghans can surprise many and could be favourites against the weak opponents. Good Luck Warriors make your nation Proud and earn your respect and maintain it at international level... Farhan from Pakistan

  • on October 4, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    afg qualified for the world cup

  • Fast_Track_Bully on October 4, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    This Afgan team is much better than current pak team!

  • on October 4, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    Really hope Afghanistan qualify ... I really admire their team spirit ... although qualification is just the first step ... they still need to step up their game one more level to compete against the established teams ... just two months back, they lost out to under-23 teams of India, SL and Pakistan!

  • on October 4, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    Inshalla afghanistan cricket team will qualifiy for the world cup 2015 in Australia inshallah with big wishes

  • on October 4, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    An excellent suggestion from Annz N Dipz Love - it would be great to see the Afghans playing long-form games against Ireland, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and the A teams of the big boys. They appear to have mid-term potential for test status and that would be a great way to develop their game and monitor their progress.

  • Jadejafan on October 4, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    Afghanistan are a mediocre team. There's nothing great beating teams like Kenya, Namibia etc you need to beat/tie the full members like Ireland do.

  • Haleos on October 4, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    senseless format...tons of matches against the same opponents...

  • Kundian on October 4, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    @ozone8237 they already have ODI status. I also followed WC 2011 qualification tournament, and unluckily Afghanistan could not get it, if they had won 1 more game they would in WC 2011. But they were then awarded ODI status.

    I am Pakistani Fan and very happy to see afghans progressing into world of cricket. They are very talented. And they are proved to be one MAJOR source of happiness to their country. I am following WCL too just to see that they might qualify and i m happy they will today.

  • on October 4, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    I think Afghanistan are much better team than Bangla Desh and should be given ICC status and thy will prove it in World Cup.The places should be based on merit and not on politics as governed by money ridden India cricket Board.

  • ozone8237 on October 3, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    Playing in a world cup is an honor, a recognition of one's achievements and If Afghanistan qualified for the WC 2015 which i am pretty sure they will then the time is not too far when they will be awarded the ODI status and so on.. The captain Mohammad Nabi, Fast Bowler Hamid Hassan and a few other Afghan Players have world class material in them and their coach, Kabir Khan, is trying his best to polish their talent and bring out more and more every day. Watch out Big guns Afghans can surprise many and could be favourites against the weak opponents. Good Luck Warriors make your nation Proud and earn your respect and maintain it at international level... Farhan from Pakistan

  • on October 4, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    afg qualified for the world cup

  • Fast_Track_Bully on October 4, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    This Afgan team is much better than current pak team!

  • on October 4, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    Really hope Afghanistan qualify ... I really admire their team spirit ... although qualification is just the first step ... they still need to step up their game one more level to compete against the established teams ... just two months back, they lost out to under-23 teams of India, SL and Pakistan!

  • on October 4, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    Inshalla afghanistan cricket team will qualifiy for the world cup 2015 in Australia inshallah with big wishes

  • on October 4, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    An excellent suggestion from Annz N Dipz Love - it would be great to see the Afghans playing long-form games against Ireland, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and the A teams of the big boys. They appear to have mid-term potential for test status and that would be a great way to develop their game and monitor their progress.

  • Jadejafan on October 4, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    Afghanistan are a mediocre team. There's nothing great beating teams like Kenya, Namibia etc you need to beat/tie the full members like Ireland do.

  • Haleos on October 4, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    senseless format...tons of matches against the same opponents...

  • Kundian on October 4, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    @ozone8237 they already have ODI status. I also followed WC 2011 qualification tournament, and unluckily Afghanistan could not get it, if they had won 1 more game they would in WC 2011. But they were then awarded ODI status.

    I am Pakistani Fan and very happy to see afghans progressing into world of cricket. They are very talented. And they are proved to be one MAJOR source of happiness to their country. I am following WCL too just to see that they might qualify and i m happy they will today.

  • on October 4, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    I think Afghanistan are much better team than Bangla Desh and should be given ICC status and thy will prove it in World Cup.The places should be based on merit and not on politics as governed by money ridden India cricket Board.

  • on October 4, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    afghans should send their team to play & practise against u-19 or A Teams of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or even Bangladesh. if they can beat any of the 2nd string sides of the big boys then they will more confident n experienced to play the biggies in the world cup. love and best wishes from India.

  • on October 4, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    Its definitely a moment of celebration for Afg. But would like UAE and the others to fight out and gain valuable exp of playing with the test playing nations early next year in NZ. Wish Singapore was among that list as well - am sure given the talent in the Island country , they should be there if PNG and UGANDA can...beyond 2015 it would be a tough ask :-(

  • Fast_Track_Bully on October 4, 2013, 5:20 GMT

    Congrts and all the best for the next match. Greetings from Indian fans.

  • Babu22 on October 4, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    Yes. Afghans. This is the time. Crush the Kenyans today. Best wishes from Australia.

  • Anantas11 on October 4, 2013, 5:01 GMT

    Best of Luck for Afgan, They deserve the world Cup Spot.....best wishes from All Nepalese Cricket Fan!!!

  • Azooz-Afgfan on October 4, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    Big day for us yeahhh!!! We are coming Oz Viva Afghanistan.

  • on October 4, 2013, 4:04 GMT

    Long live Afghanistan and the brave people of the country, all afghans proud of you my Afghan stars. wish you the best of luck and hoping for the great historical win :)

  • on October 4, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    Insha Allah we will win today the boys are playing really well 100% we well qualify today. We are parying for the team.

  • Anil_Koshy on October 4, 2013, 3:41 GMT

    Rightly said Ashen, I fully support your views, it would have been really sad if teams like Canada or UAE qualify for the world cup as rely only borrowed cricketers from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It is good to see teams with home grown players participating in the world cup rather than watching expatriates playing.

  • on October 4, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    Pretty impressive stuff from Afghans, who despite limited resources, poor domestic set-up and political turmoil have managed to achieve so much in such a short time. All the best for the future.

  • on October 4, 2013, 2:26 GMT

    Afghanistan team is well prepared to win this game and qualify for the World Cup 2015. they are capable of competing with high ranked teams such as New Zealand, Sri lanka, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Hope to see them in World Cup In Sha Allah....Celebrations will be everywhere....

  • class9ryan on October 4, 2013, 2:23 GMT

    My prayers are with Afghanistan. We know cricket will touch bigger heights in Afghanistan only if they come on world television and World Cup provides them with that. All the luck to Afghan boys. Do well

  • on October 4, 2013, 1:54 GMT

    Hope to see Afghanistan win this game as they will be coming to Australia in 2015(also Newzeland). I will be overwhelmed if they played a gsme at mcg as we live close to Melbourne City... Can't wait...

  • on October 4, 2013, 1:41 GMT

    Afghanistan have it in them to become a regular test playing nation. They most definitely are better than other affiliate teams. While Canada, UAE and the likes can only be expected to fold in front of the big boys, Agfhanistan look fresh and confident. Hope ICC can take care of them by providing the required international exposure.

  • Cpt.Meanster on October 4, 2013, 1:27 GMT

    It will be like Eid -Ul-Fitr for Afghanistan nation. Well done Afghans !!! You deserve world cup qualification. Hopefully ICC will grant you ODI status soon. You are better than some of the full member teams and can compete well with them. So I wish you all the best. India LOVES you !!!!

  • on October 4, 2013, 1:22 GMT

    Here in uk can't Waite to see our tigers in action again especially the one and only H Hassan . Come on boys you can do it inshallah we are there for you as always.

  • on October 3, 2013, 22:11 GMT

    I am following Afghanistan Cricket as if my own country Pakistan is playing. I hope they qualify and give us another reason to enjoy the world cup.

  • on October 3, 2013, 21:18 GMT

    We're completely ready to celebrate this great Achievement here in Kandahar province tomorrow Insha'Allah, We've prepared everything for celebration. Go Afghan Tigers Go. Proud of You

  • on October 3, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    thanks friends for best wishes for Afghanistan team , i am really happy after many many years war we could get to this position that we are ,

  • on October 3, 2013, 19:18 GMT

    Good luck for afghan tigers we wanna to see them in WCL inshallah our pray are with you guys like our Football heroes

  • on October 3, 2013, 19:04 GMT

    WC is almost waiting come on Afghan tigers you are the Best and Best of Luck for tomorrow match wish to gave Kenya a big Upset again

  • EnglishCricket on October 3, 2013, 19:00 GMT

    Even if associates do qualify, what's the point when they hardly get any ODI fixtures? in order for associates to be competitive at world cups then they need to be playing lots of ODIs before hand. There should be like a quadrangular ODI series between the top 2 associates Ireland and Afghanistan v the 2 weaker full members Zimbabwe and Bangladesh or something.

  • Nerk on October 3, 2013, 18:34 GMT

    C'mon Afghanistan! Get the win! I want to watch you guys play in the flesh!

  • on October 3, 2013, 18:11 GMT

    I will be very happy if they qualify but group A is a really tough one compared to group B in which Ireland are drawn But good luck

  • nayonika on October 3, 2013, 18:10 GMT

    Good luck and welcome to Afghanistan to the Big Boys World Cup. Please give a good account when you play the big countries. Don't be daunted by their big names and reputations. Just play hard,play well.

  • Ashen on October 3, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    I like to see Afghanistan get into the World Cup, rather than teams like UAE, Canada playing. Afghanistan has home grown players where as teams like UAE, Canada has players who have migrated from Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India. So Good luck Afghanistan. Hope to see your team in World Cup 2015. Also I feel that Ireland and Afghanistan are the best associate teams at present. They are way above the rest.

  • cnksnk on October 3, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    Come on Afghanis. For us romantics play well on friday and qualify. BcCI invite the Afghan team to play in the Deodar trophy. Best way to develop the team. Surely we need to give them a helping hand.

  • on October 3, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    Afghanistan deserves Test status in place of Bangladesh!

  • F.Hashimi on October 3, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    Thank you ESPN for publishing such a heartfelt article about Afghan cricket. Yes, Afghanistan's fairytale continues and now I strongly believe it is no longer a fairytale. Afghanistan is for real!! Can Bangladesh or Zimbabwe match the Afghan bowling? The honest answer is No! The only area needs to improve is their batting which is improving every time I see them bat. Go Afghanistan!!!!

  • on October 3, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    Best of luck from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan!

  • immi2711 on October 3, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    ideally, I wanna see UAE get into WC. Afghanistan has already established themselves as a threat in the world, but not good enough...Irielan and UAE

  • on October 3, 2013, 17:03 GMT

    Very good luck to our heros and they will definitely sink the dream of other teams.

  • Jonah58 on October 3, 2013, 16:43 GMT

    Good luck Afghanistan look forward to seeing you do the business in Aus and NZ in 2015.

  • asikbadhon on October 3, 2013, 16:33 GMT

    waiting to see Afghanistan in world cup 2015..best of luck from Bangladeshi well wisher!

  • asikbadhon on October 3, 2013, 16:33 GMT

    waiting to see Afghanistan in world cup 2015..best of luck from Bangladeshi well wisher!

  • Jonah58 on October 3, 2013, 16:43 GMT

    Good luck Afghanistan look forward to seeing you do the business in Aus and NZ in 2015.

  • on October 3, 2013, 17:03 GMT

    Very good luck to our heros and they will definitely sink the dream of other teams.

  • immi2711 on October 3, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    ideally, I wanna see UAE get into WC. Afghanistan has already established themselves as a threat in the world, but not good enough...Irielan and UAE

  • on October 3, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    Best of luck from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan!

  • F.Hashimi on October 3, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    Thank you ESPN for publishing such a heartfelt article about Afghan cricket. Yes, Afghanistan's fairytale continues and now I strongly believe it is no longer a fairytale. Afghanistan is for real!! Can Bangladesh or Zimbabwe match the Afghan bowling? The honest answer is No! The only area needs to improve is their batting which is improving every time I see them bat. Go Afghanistan!!!!

  • on October 3, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    Afghanistan deserves Test status in place of Bangladesh!

  • cnksnk on October 3, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    Come on Afghanis. For us romantics play well on friday and qualify. BcCI invite the Afghan team to play in the Deodar trophy. Best way to develop the team. Surely we need to give them a helping hand.

  • Ashen on October 3, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    I like to see Afghanistan get into the World Cup, rather than teams like UAE, Canada playing. Afghanistan has home grown players where as teams like UAE, Canada has players who have migrated from Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India. So Good luck Afghanistan. Hope to see your team in World Cup 2015. Also I feel that Ireland and Afghanistan are the best associate teams at present. They are way above the rest.

  • nayonika on October 3, 2013, 18:10 GMT

    Good luck and welcome to Afghanistan to the Big Boys World Cup. Please give a good account when you play the big countries. Don't be daunted by their big names and reputations. Just play hard,play well.