Afghanistan 81 for 8 (Gul 29*) beat Jersey 80 (Gough 23, Hassan 4-27) by two wickets
A fine all-round performance from Hasti Gul guided Afghanistan to the World Cricket League Division 5 title, with a tense two-wicket victory, in a low-scoring thriller against hosts Jersey. Gul hit an unbeaten 29, as Afghanistan slumped to 62 for 8 chasing just 81 for victory, to follow his three wickets.
"This game was very important to the team and to the country," said Gul. "Jersey got a small total but when I came into bat, all I wanted to do was to guide my team home and I am delighted to have accomplished the job. There will be lots of people waiting in Kabul to see the trophy and all of Afghanistan will be very happy."
Jersey were bundled out in less than 40 overs, but didn't give up the chance of claiming a trophy in front of their home crowd without a real fight. Ryan Driver, the former Lancashire and Worcestershire batsman, took four wickets with his medium-pace. However, Gul didn't take a backward step and launched the only two sixes of the match - over long-on and deep square-leg - to take Afghanistan within touching distance.
The tension was too much for Gul's team-mates, who raced onto the field after he clipped Matt Hague to fine leg, only to realise the scores were only levelled. Four balls later they could really start to celebrate and the result continues a remarkable story of progression for Afghanistan cricket. The major achievement was reaching the final, thereby earning a place in the WCL Division 4 event, but claiming the trophy caps a memorable week for one of cricket's rising outposts.
Afghanistan's bowlers took early control of the match as Jersey found it almost impossible to score. Abed took the first two wickets before Hamid Hassan decimated the middle order. There was also a wicket for Mohammad Nabi, the allrounder who has been an MCC Young Cricketer, as he produced a miserly seven-over burst.
Jonny Gough top-scored with 23, but Gul was always in the thick of the action and also produced a run out to remove Bradley Vowden. It was fitting that he was at the crease to see his team home.