Afghanistan beat Ireland by five wickets on Friday in the final Super Six match of the World Cup qualifiers to book their seat in 2019 World Cup finals. Afghanistan will join fellow qualifiers West Indies in the 10-team World Cup to be staged in England and Wales from May 30-July 14, 2019, alongside defending champions Australia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, England, South Africa and New Zealand. Following the win, there was pandemonium in the Afghan dressing room as the players celebrated their World Cup qualification.
The Afghanistan players led by Rashid Khan, loudly shouted "we are in" multiple times to rejoice their memorable feat.
However, Afghanistan didn't make it easy for themselves in the qualifier tournament. They lost their opening three qualifying games and World Cup qualification seemed a dream too far for the Asian minnows.
But they refused to give up and won rest of their matches to keep themselves in contention and qualify for the Super Sixes.
It was, however, UAE's shock win over Zimababwe that not only eliminated the hosts from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 race but also gave Afghanistan and Ireland a lifeline by turning their last Super Six match as a shootout for the last remaining spot.
Ireland won the toss and elected to bat with opener Paul Stirling making a top score of 55 and Kevin O'Brien hitting 41 in a modest total of 209-7 off their 50 overs.
Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan finished with 3-40 to take his career tally to 99 ODI wickets.
In reply, burly opener Mohammad Shahzad clobbered 54 off 50 balls in an opening stand of 86 with Gulbadin Naib.
Skipper Asghar Stanikzai and Najibullah Zadran settled the side after Shahzad's fall and led the Afghans to a memorable victory with five balls to play.