Afghanistan qualify for 2015 World Cup

Afghanistan

Afghanistan qualified for the 2015 World Cup by beating Kenya in Friday's ICC World Cricket League Championship fixture at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Afghanistan qualified for the 2015 World Cup by beating Kenya in Friday's ICC World Cricket League Championship fixture at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

The seven-wicket win secured the minnow nation their first ever appearance in the ODI showpiece, which will be hosted by New Zealand and Australia.

Captain Mohammad Nabi's decision to bowl first after winning the toss enjoyed early reward, with opposition openers Gurdeep Sing and Irfan Karim dismissed for a mere one and three respectively.

The initial breakthroughs set a precedent for the remainder of the innings and Kenya's total would have read considerably poorer, were it not for wicketkeeper-batsman Morris Ouma's standalone 39.

Ultimately, the downcast African outfit managed a mere 93 all out in 43.3 overs – a paltry score akin to the 89 and 56 endured in fixtures against the spirited Afghan unit earlier this month.

While fast bowler Hamid Hassan and spinners Karim Sadiq and Nabi secured a brace each, left-armer Hamza Hotak was the pick of the bowlers thanks to figures of three for 19 in 10 clinical overs.

Afghanistan's reply weathered an early wobble in the wake of opener Mohammad Shahzad's fall for a single, but a second-wicket alliance of 32 between the talented Asghar Stanikzai and former skipper Nawroz Mangal soon rectified.

All-rounder Nabi, leading from the front to the fullest extent, was later at hand for a quickfire 46 not out from a mere 42 deliveries, a trio of fours and twin sixes included. Fittingly, the captain struck the winning runs.

"I can't express my feelings. It is a very big day in my life. I'm sure there will be huge celebrations back home. I'm happy for the people of Afghanistan and look forward to playing in Australia and New Zealand," enthused Nabi, after the match.

"I didn't expect to play in a World Cup when I started playing cricket. But now I can cherish this moment and look forward to playing against the best sides in some of the best playing facilities."

The triumph, achieved with all of 175 balls to spare, saw Afghanistan join Ireland as the second Associate team in the 2015 World Cup. The remaining two berths will be decided by a qualifying tournament in New Zealand in 2014.

Latest