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

Afghanistan on brink of 'national celebration'

ESPNcricinfo staff

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

  • Dummy4 on October 4, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    afg qualified for the world cup

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

    This Afgan team is much better than current pak team!

  • Dummy4 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!

  • Android on October 4, 2013, 8:54 GMT

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

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Mike 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.

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

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

  • Arshad 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.

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Dummy4 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.