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Sports Home Cricket News Afghanistan's big leap in international cricket, qualify for 2015 World Cup

Afghanistan's big leap in international cricket, qualify for 2015 World Cup

Afghanistan join World Cricket League winners Ireland as qualifiers for the 2015 World Cup to be played in Australia and New Zealand. In the finals, they will play in Pool A against Australia, New Zealand, England, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Agence-France Presse  |  Last updated on Friday, 04 October 2013 18:26 Print font size - +

Sharjah:  Afghanistan reached the World Cup for the first time on Friday, completing a remarkable journey from refugee camp cricket to rubbing shoulders with the sport's superpowers. (Full 2015 World Cup schedule)

The team who were playing in the fifth-tier just five years ago, and are forced by the precarious security situation in their country to stage home matches in the Gulf, swept past Kenya by seven wickets to secure an historic spot in the 2015 showpiece. (Match pics)

After dismissing Kenya for just 93 in the 44th over at the Sharjah Cricket Ground, Afghanistan reached their target in the 21st over when captain Mohammad Nabi hit Shem Ngoche for a boundary through midwicket.

They had to endure a brief moment of worry before romping to victory when they were reduced to 34 for 3.

But Nabi, who finished on 46 not out, and Hashmatullah Shaidi, put on 62 for the fourth wicket to bring their side home with 175 balls to spare.

Nabi smashed two huge sixes and three fours to assure his team of second place in the World Cricket League behind runaway winners Ireland who have also qualified for the World Cup.

Afghanistan will play in Pool A at the World Cup in 2015 along with co-hosts Australia and New Zealand as well as Bangladesh, England, Sri Lanka and another qualifier.

Netherlands, UAE, Scotland, Kenya, Namibia, Canada, Uganda, Hong Kong, Nepal and Papua New Guinea will now compete for the last two World Cup berths at the final qualifying event to be staged in New Zealand in February next year.

Afghanistan were already overwhelming favourites to beat Kenya in the last match of an exhausting two-year qualifying competition.

In Monday's Twenty20 international, they routed the African side by 106 runs and carried that form through to Wednesday when they romped to victory by eight wickets in the first of the two determining ODIs.

Then, Kenya were dismissed for just 89 with Afghanistan reaching their target inside 18 overs.

On Friday, Kenya were put into bat and struggled again with Morris Ouma top-scoring with 39.

Rakep Patel, with 18, was the only other batsman to reach double figures in an innings where the first boundary didn't arrive until the 16th over.

Slow left-armer Hamza Hotak was the leading Afghanistan bowler, claiming 3-19 off his 10 overs.

Brief scores:

Kenya - 93 all out in 43.3 overs (Morris Ouma 39; Hamza Hotak 3-19)

Afghanistan - 96 for 3 in 20.5 overs (Mohammad Nabi 46 not out)

Result: Afghanistan won by seven wickets.

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Story first published on: Friday, 04 October 2013 15:54

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