Afghanistan v Nepal, World T20, Group A, Chittagong

Afghanistan's 'one percent chance'

Alan Gardner in Chittagong

March 19, 2014

Comments: 44 | Text size: A | A

Mohammad Shahzad tries to swat one away, Afghanistan v Hong Kong, World T20, Group A, Chittagong, March 18, 2014
Afghanistan will need to score the runs very quickly to have any chance of qualifying © AFP

The long shot has a special place in the heart of most sports fans. Not to mention the underdog that bites. For Afghanistan to get through to the next round of the World T20 and continue menacing the established sides, they will need to grasp a "one percent chance", according to their coach, Kabir Khan. It may even be smaller than that.

Afghanistan, who many fancied to cause an upset in the opening match of the tournament, will need several improbables to go their way if they are to deny Bangladesh top spot in the group. The hosts have won two from two with plenty to spare and now face Hong Kong, whose record so far is as bad as Bangladesh's is good. Even a landslide win for Afghanistan over a more-than-handy Nepal would require Hong Kong to mete out an extraordinarily unlikely thrashing of their own.

Kabir can only focus on the job at hand for his team. "Every match is important and we want to win, obviously now we are in a position to plan to win with big margins," he said. "Cricket is a funny game and we are expecting a one percent chance of anybody beating Bangladesh here. But if someone beats Bangladesh, we have to keep our chances alive, at least the run rate should be higher and if that happens and our run rate is there, then we could qualify."

Afghanistan are currently third behind Nepal on NRR, after contrasting fortunes on the first day. The run rate situation means that Nepal are actually better placed to go through should Bangladesh slip up and consequently will be expected to push Afghanistan hard. Had Kabir's team beaten Hong Kong more heavily on Tuesday, the equation may have been more in their favour but he said the batsman had been following instructions only to unleash towards the end.

"In respect of Bangladesh getting beaten, we had to put ourselves in a position where we could win and then you go for the plan to get your run rate better," he said. "We wanted to keep wickets in hand and then, at a stage that we were in control, we wanted to finish the match early. So that's the sort of thing you do in T20, you get yourself in a position of control and then you dominate."

Shafiqullah's 24-ball half-century, to follow up a slightly more measured (by his own standards) 68 from Mohammad Shahzad, suggested they could have started the domination a little earlier.

Their best chance may be to bowl Nepal out cheaply - no mean feat after their fellow Associate resisted all 20 overs for the loss of just five wickets against Bangladesh - and then race past the target. Afghanistan certainly have the firepower in their attack, which will be the quickest Nepal have faced on a lively Chittagong surface, although such riches may have inadvertently undermined their chances of progression. Kabir suggested, with a grin, that the beating Bangladesh took in the Asia Cup earlier this month had triggered a defensive posture by the hosts.

"We have good-quality fast bowlers, we train them like that, they are aggressive and everybody knows that our fast-bowling attack is very good, especially at Associate standard and sometimes at Test standard. In the Asia Cup, the bowling was very all together and I think that's why the Mirpur wicket was a bit slow."

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 10:42 GMT)

The comment of the Afghan captain is nothing but arrogance, which nobody likes. their arrogance will never create support. A lot of Bangladeshis though not wisely support Pakistan. same could have been true for the Afghans but they themselves are to blame from being driffted away from this support. I myself will always be against this rude team who do not know how to behave. it took years for Bangladesh to achieve some sort of respect, you can't get it over night. remember we now have the world's no.1 test allrounder, we have atleast 4 batsmen in the top 35 list. so be realistic and learn through mutual respect.

Posted by Monjur_Elahi on (March 20, 2014, 10:04 GMT)

By beating PAK ofcourse! Thanks to PAK for all the threats of not participating in Asia cup under security reasons. A heartfelt thanks to all cricket nations, fans and media in helping florishing BD cricket. Without your help we couldn't have progressed so far. We are thankful, we are proud to be with you and we are looking forward to be with you.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 9:49 GMT)

If afghan team exist with the help of Pakistan so do Bangladesh. I have played cricket all my life I know how things works I mean 1999 world cup. You know what I am talking about

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 9:48 GMT)

As a Pakistani to All BD fans.... I would like to tell learn how to bowl to Afridi.... ur team was not able to defend 327..... I remmber most of the BD fans were crying.... Afghanistan had so many matches with PAK... Afridi was including in most of the matches.... he was not able to hit any single 6 so far... whenever Afridi comes to crease... BD tigers become BD ...... Try to find some pacer like afghan...otherwise he is going to make another record against BD... and my suggestion to BD fans don't watch PakVSBD match....

Posted by Monjur_Elahi on (March 20, 2014, 9:10 GMT)

Nothing personal, overall people want peace and entertainment in sports, not arrogance and threat! Whether it be Afgan players or the players from the moon, they should be avoided. No doubt that's the future if rough attitude doesn't change.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 8:44 GMT)

Monjur_Elahi too much hatred against afgan bro.very bad.u even said to ban afgan from playing domestic league in bd.this type of talking will hurt afgan fans a afgan guy here just made a peaceful approach and now u r messing things up.just stop bashing anyone.they LOVE their country.please have a friendly attitude.

Posted by Click_Click_Cricket on (March 20, 2014, 8:26 GMT)

@ Mohammad_Yasa - Please read again! I said 'a couple of AFG players have been acting WEIRD' - not all of them! With all due respect to AFG, I also meant NEP so far showed better sportsmanship than AFG. Probably ESPNCricInfo can do a POLL. We understand AFG people have been through a lot - I am not sure how many nations could survive all that. Years of Wars have made them known as FIGHTERS, but Cricket wants players to express their FIGHTING SPIRIT only via bat, ball and fielding. No need to make it look like WWE. Isn't Cricket a gentlemen's game? May be not anymore...

Posted by Monjur_Elahi on (March 20, 2014, 7:19 GMT)

AFG ungratitudive nature has already been noticed. They are all dependent on PAK and without PAK support they don't exist. Yet some fans were saying defying staffs against PAK team in a match report during Asia Cup. Much ado about nothing. The BPL authority seriously need to consider not recruiting any AFG players in the future and instead support the Nepalise who are friendly. We should promote good education, sane logic and not arrogance in cricket. The associates are still infants and they still have a lot to learn from BD. If AFG is not able to take it, therebare other teams who will. If AFG continues in this manner, PAK will probably be annoyed and that will mean end of stories for AFG!

Posted by Mohammad_Yasa on (March 20, 2014, 6:33 GMT)

@Click_Click_Cricket. You've said What I wanted to. But for RESPECT, I'll tell you that Afghan Players RESPECT other teams and good players more than any other team.Afghan players are very modest and friendly, you can ask BD fans who have met Afghan players during BPL, ASIA CUP or recently. By Bowling a bouncer and Staring at batsman, one can't say that the bowler doesn't respect his opponent. For SPIN friendly pitches, it is the coach's fault, he should have selected playing XI according to the conditions, but we know that Afghanistan isn't at the level of beating TEST teams easily or even BEATing them, so they shouldn't be overconfident and I AGREE WITH YOU. What we expect from them is giving tough time to the opponents and they did it a couple of times in ASIA CUP.

Posted by Click_Click_Cricket on (March 20, 2014, 6:10 GMT)

@ Abir Rahman - Calm down, man! Nobody is talking about MONEY here. BD players do not have much money except two or three.

Posted by Click_Click_Cricket on (March 20, 2014, 6:07 GMT)

@ Mohammad_Yasa - BD fans will support an associate on any given day, but when two associates play BD fans will support the team that deserves MORE RESPECT. NEP is such a team. Talented yet well-mannered on field. Since AFG beat BD in ASIA CUP couple of AFG players have been acting WEIRD. AFG captain needs to calm them down. Aggression is part of sports, but with respect. AFG has good fast bowlers, but they won't do much in ASIAN pitches. I bet if IND or SRI plays AFG, they will make SPIN-FRIENDLY pitch. Please tell your coach not to cry about BD pitch. AFG lost badly against BD because they were overconfident and were acting like AUS. One last thing - BD loves AFG team and that's why we ENJOY seeing them playing in our domestic tournaments. Good luck!

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 5:54 GMT)

@Abir Rahman please do not say things like Bd team is 10X better than Afgan .I am a die hard fan of Bd but have to say that Afgan got a very decent pace attack One can argue easily that despite of having so much good facilities why we are still behind test team like Srilanka and pakistan.So please dont feed the trolls.To my Afgan fans you guys are good team but please do not be over the moon by beating bd.You guys need to work hard and also play regularly to achieve more good things.To Nepal,mate I like your teams attitude inside and out side of the cricket field.You guys have a really well spoken and humble captain.Best of luck to all the teams.At the end of the day its a game and every team always can do better.Cheers.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 5:26 GMT)

@Mohammad_Yasa, oh my brother, you saying BD fans enjoyed the Afghan-Bangla T20 match more than winning against Australia?? Then you must be a new cricket follower.. BD is a complete cricket mad nation.. They enjoy when their country plays, even when it's against any associates.. your thought on this is completely wrong man..

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 5:18 GMT)

I love both Nepal and Afghan team but afgan causing upset in one game doesn't make them better than Bangladesh Ireland too beat England once but they are not claiming they are better than England,... By current basis, bd team is atleast 10x better, afgan and Nepal national team may rather be comapred to be u19 team but still be u19 have a upper hand and its cuz be have more funds and facilities and the players make a lot of money ex. Shakib makes almost over 900,000 USD a year

Posted by bouncer709 on (March 20, 2014, 5:01 GMT)

why BD supporters and Afghanistan supporters always quarrels each other, and I think against Nepal going for all the kills and try to win with big margin will not suit Afghanistan, in doing so they may lose the match, so better to play basics and try to win 2nd spot.. trying any thing extra ordinary may back fire.....

Posted by Mohammad_Yasa on (March 20, 2014, 4:41 GMT)

For All BD Fans. I have read a series of comments from BD fans and noticed that most of them support Nepal against Afghanistan. The reason might be the loss to Afghanistan in Asia Cup or the aggressive behavior of Afghan Fast Bowlers. In any case, that can't be a logical reason. BD fans were so heart broken with the Asia Cup loss that they started hating Afghans instead of hating their players for not performing. For your Consolation, I will say that 1: You will not lose your TEST STATUS by supporting Afghan Team as the BIG THREE confirmed. 2: By being aggressive, the competition's value increases (I am sure BD fans enjoyed the Afghan-Bangla T20 match more than winning from Australia). 3: Afghans are not arrogant and they support BD team against any team (including Pakistan and India who have much support here).

Posted by LitigonerNEP on (March 20, 2014, 4:34 GMT)

Dear Bangladeshi!, it really makes me happy and proud when you guys support us especially in cricket. Thanks for that and hope to get support in future as well. we do promise we will support from our side even in football as well as cricket, surely. Thanks once again. love, respect and best of luck from all the Nepalese for today's match against Hongkong and all the upcoming matches.

Posted by ziggy500 on (March 20, 2014, 3:30 GMT)

the mirpur pitch was not slow. it had plenty of moisture which provided alot of turn but also good pace and bounce. it was a pitch that should more often be used, along with the chittagong one. if bd has 1 turner in dhaka, a green top in chittagong and a flat deck in sylhet, it will aise the quality of first class, and soon you will see good spinners coming from dhaka, good batsmen from sylhet and good quicks from chittagong.

Posted by awt786 on (March 20, 2014, 1:02 GMT)

Even though every one know that afghanistan is out of the tournament but i think they are a good team. I dont know why these bangladeshi people are making a mockery out of it .. They should remember that they registered their first ever win after playing 28 matches which was not the case with afghanistan. Afghanistan can be more dangerous team ?(at least better tan bangladesh)if they play according to their talent and not loosing their tamper and keep their basics right..

Posted by Masking_Tape on (March 20, 2014, 0:27 GMT)

LOL this is an ICC regulated event. Everything that goes on during this tournament is done by ICC. Bangladesh is just hosting it. They have no power over pitches, ground size or anything of that sort. Even if they did, how's that defensive? They are doing what suits them the best. It's called strategy, planning. What can you expect from a associate side. They played like amateurs on the field (just look at ball one). And they talk like amateurs off field, before and now after the game.

Posted by i_amVIVA on (March 19, 2014, 23:34 GMT)

if anyone, then it might very well be Nepal instead, in this game to win to go into second position in the final group standing. Good luck impressive Nepali team, we're rooting for you...

Posted by   on (March 19, 2014, 22:56 GMT)

And hope bd local teams hire Nepali players instead of these Afgans who are extremely confrontational. They need to know bd has been helping them in many ways till now. But they are thinking like pakistani's who thought with out them we can't arrange BPL.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2014, 22:53 GMT)

Rooting for Nepal. Hope all the bd crowed does the same and Nepal beats this no skill all power team and put them in place. Go Nepal. Bd supporter.

Posted by bongodeshi on (March 19, 2014, 22:38 GMT)

Afghans are on right track....i dont think u should be respecting your opponents on field. Why respect ? In other words by respecting u r accepting that opponents are far better and in that case u hv already lost. The earlier Bangladesh teams had this problem and they lost matches even before it started.....and all out of respect ? I dont think right word is not respect but rather playing the game in 'true spirit' and showing sportsmanship. Afghans hv the right attitude....fearless and not in awe of anyone. Now they need a top notch coach. Kabir khan is not probably that guy...he could be an ok bowling coach, but not someone who will take afghanistan to next level.

Posted by Monjur_Elahi on (March 19, 2014, 20:27 GMT)

AFG has talented players but lacks maturity. They are emotional and yet to learn professionalism. Unfortunately, they don't seem in hand of a very professional coach, who doesn't only recognise the reality of the situation, but also guide the team with non-existent hopes. If they had to give themselves a good chance, they should've taken the HK game with plans to increase the net run-rate. The tactics of batting fire in the end didn't really help them and has zeroed their chance to qualify. Very short-sighted coaching strategy. They need better coaching if they are to improve in the future. Nepal captain seems to be a mature cricket head, comes up with clear plans and strategies, leads the team from the front, other players 100% dedicated too. Very professional approach with calm posture, variety in balling dept and steady batting display, Nepal is a very strong contender to win this match. AFG should aim to take some lesson from the Nepal team. Good luck Nepal.

Posted by The_GreatOne on (March 19, 2014, 19:54 GMT)

I think Fast bowlers are aggressive by nature I don't see any problem in the attitude of Dawlat Zadran I Wish him luck He have good pace bowling more than 142 takes some effort on these dead Tracks.... Thums up to Afghans and play well Best wishes from Pakistan I wish to see you guys playing in the next round

Posted by Masking_Tape on (March 19, 2014, 19:44 GMT)

It's easier to support the Nepal team when the AFG team acts like they are the biggest bunch of stars in the world. And their behavior on and off the field is turning me into a hater. Nepal on the other hand is much more lovable and I wish them nothing but success! Good luck Nepal. Go CAN!

Posted by smukhles on (March 19, 2014, 19:12 GMT)

"Like coach like players" In reference to " That's why the Mirpur wicket was a bit slow", this guy doesn't know what he is talking about. So called mighty Afghanistan is on their way out anyway and still kind of day dreaming.

Posted by bdsmaruf on (March 19, 2014, 18:13 GMT)

kabir khan is thinking they are going to win the match 100% sure. I thing afg- Nepal game is 50-50. I couldn't but laugh- he is dreaming, if they beat Nepal by minimum 150 runs they can go the next round otherwise Nepal will go ( if bd beaten by hk ).

Posted by bdsmaruf on (March 19, 2014, 17:57 GMT)

"... and I think that's why the Mirpur wicket was a bit slow." Kabir Khan (coach of Afganistan). you should give the opposition credit if notyour players will not learn. Arrogance would relate to players and that attitude we saw from the Afgan players which is very unsportsman like. I know Afgans who are totally opposite of what your players displayed.

Posted by Matadore on (March 19, 2014, 17:43 GMT)

TO B honest, Afghanstan havent any minimum oppurtunity at all.. its 0%.. just look at the RUNRATE.. evn in afg win nd bd lose still they cant make it! AFG r -1.27 and bd r +2.69... the difference is 3.96 (average of 2 matches).. if we multiply that 3.96*2=7.92 in 20 overs.. that means 7.92*20=159 RUNS ALMOST! 159 RUNS!! U kidding me? Reducing that amount of runs only can happen in ur dream.. rather, nepal hav a very slim nd better chance than AFG (Still that is unlikely)

Posted by ma_maglin on (March 19, 2014, 17:25 GMT)

hahahaha..... Kabir Khan, wht are u saying!!!! 1% chance... it's -100% chance...that means no chance at all.. Nepal should beaten Afganistan .... All Bangladeshi fans will support Nepal.. Nepal is much better than Afganistan.. Good luck Nepal I am a Bangladeshi & i also support Nepal (New asian Tiger)

Posted by mizan3060 on (March 19, 2014, 17:20 GMT)

Nepal shown more professionalism in bowling and batting. Under Bangladesh condition, Nepal has a chance to win; (if Afgans try to win by margin, they could loose the game).

Posted by Davijonesbd on (March 19, 2014, 17:04 GMT)

@ Waheed Sirazy : Don't know the reason of your statement regarding the crowd of Bangladesh. Nobody has ever doubted or raised question regarding our crowds behavior towards any nation that has played in Bangladesh so far.

Regarding cricketing skills and heritage, Afghanistan is still a growing nation and its good to see that they have the potential to grow well. Saying that, cricket is a game of passion as well as patience. It takes time to do well in a consistent manner. Once upon a time Kenya used to be the better team then Bangladesh. UAE played world cup before Bangladesh did. Now where are they in compare to Bangladesh? No where as they didnot plan well to move forward. I certainly hope this is not the last glimpse of stars that Afghanistan has to offer to the world. In future i am sure there are lot to come. Attitude not only win matches but also win hearts. Players should keep it in their minds that they are the ambassador of a nation and world judge a nation by their behave.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2014, 16:02 GMT)

I'm going with Nepal.... Hope they'll beat afghans with some lessons(afghans are rude and arrogant and confrontational in the field ... They need to respect opponents,it's seems they are more like a day dreamers). Good luck Nepal ... From B'desh fan.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2014, 15:51 GMT)

Sorry to say if we Afghans have no quality of sportsmanship in our coach or some of our player who don't respect opponents then how about Bangladeshi cricket fans?.... They have zero respect for opponents no matter if it is Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, India or others

Posted by i_amVIVA on (March 19, 2014, 15:18 GMT)

The unrealistic thinking of Afg national coach transpires into bullyness of their players in the field, that's been manifested lately in their games. This coach should learn to respect the opponents and speak accordingly, no matter who the opponents are; and teach the same to his fellow players, teach sportsmanship, this is a game after all.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2014, 14:42 GMT)

As an afghan I hate to see my payers show ill-manner attitude. Only Dawlat Zadran loses his head though and we don't like that. Cricket is a game and should be treated as friendly as possible. Thanks Bangladesh for great support in Asia Cup and I hope to see respect between all teams.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2014, 14:28 GMT)

The Afghanistan Cricket team's rise has been heartening and I have rooted for them from afar. But I fear that they are letting their moderate success get to their heads. Before the match against BD, the team's spokespersons were fairly bombastic. During the match, the team showed lack of cricketing spirit with skirmishes galore.

Now the team shows it is lacking in a little class and polish again. Question to Mr. Kabir Khan: Why is Bangladesh preparing a home wicket to suit its quality spin attack a _defensive_ posture? I viewed it as an aggressive move - they recognized your batters are clueless against spin and determined to embarrass them by attacking them with Shak, Razzak, et al.

My suggestion to the Afghan think thank is to simmer down. If your bowlers had focused on bowling the lengths and lines the pitch deserved then going for macho, aggro posturing, you could have helped yourself in the NRR situation and make Bangladesh bat longer to win the game.

Posted by tigers_eye on (March 19, 2014, 14:16 GMT)

"... and I think that's why the Mirpur wicket was a bit slow." Kabir Khan (coach of Afganistan).

This should be a learning experience not a griping contest. Go back and see tapes and find out what your batsmen did wrong. Nothing against the bowlers. They can't defend 72 even when the ball is turning. Players look up to the coaches. You give the opposition credit and that is what the players will learn. Arrogance would relate to players and that attitude we say from the Afgan players which is very unsportsman like. I know Afgans who are totally opposite of what your players displayed. Be humble and good things will happen. Afganistan is my second favorite team.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2014, 14:15 GMT)

Afghanistan must blame nobody but theirselves for this situation. They did not play key players against Bangladesh and lost the game in big margin. If they approached the game in the same way they did in Asia Cup then at least the run rate would not be as worst as it is now. Credit to Bangladesh for a strong comeback after having a disastrous Asia Cup. Nepal are playing good so it will a close game and not big win. Even if they beat Nepal in big margin, There is no chance Bangladesh lose to Hong Kong. The qualifying decider game was AFG v BD and BD won the contest and qualified. All over for us

Posted by   on (March 19, 2014, 14:07 GMT)

Pretty simple equation for the Afghans it seems.

Posted by zabihalemi on (March 19, 2014, 13:44 GMT)

i would say it is even less then one percent chance for Afghanistan. the first match against Bangladesh was the final for qualification and Bangladesh qualified to the second round... simple as that...hope Afghanistan can win by a big margin and Bangladesh loses to Hong kong by a huge margin....

Posted by MAN_AT_WORK on (March 19, 2014, 13:20 GMT)

The equations are afganisthan need to score round about 400 run and restrict Nepal below 72 and Hong Kong should restrict Bangladesh below 50 and win within 5 overs! Simples

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