Asghar Stanikzai & Co didn’t think they would finish the ICC World Cup 2018 qualifier with that little trophy in their hand. After losing the first three matches in the tournament (against Scotland, Zimbabwe and Hong Kong), little did they think they’d find a spot in the World Cup 2019 going to be held in England. Moreover, the absence of wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad and skipper Stanikzai was another issue to deal with.
But their luck turned after beating Nepal and West Indies. The Afghanis began to play with renewed hope now that their captain was back after an appendectomy. They clinched the victory against Ireland by 5 wickets and sealed their spot in 2019’s mega event. The moment Stanikzai hit that winning four while chasing a target of 210, each and every Afghanistan team member jumped with joy.
Afghanistan have done it! Their captain Asghar Stanikzai steers them into the 2019 World Cup
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) March 23, 2018
Their excitement and happiness was incomparable and they chanted ‘We Are In’ to celebrate the moment.
Here’s the video:
— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) March 24, 2018
The celebration continued inside the dressing room as well with some more chants:
— ICC (@ICC) March 23, 2018
Despite initial losses, they didn’t give up fighting to qualify for the super sixes. UAE’s shocking win over Zimbabwe was a blessing in disguise for the Afghanis. It not only eliminated the hosts from the world cup race but also gave Afghanistan and Ireland a last chance to grab the final berth.
Ireland won the toss and after batting first, they put a modest total of 209 runs in 50 overs.
In return, Afghanistan had a superb start as the opening pair of Mohammad Shahzad (54) and Gulbadin Naib (45) added 86 runs for the first wicket. Towards the end, skipper Stanikzai played a knock of 39 runs off 29 balls to take the game home.
Now Afghanistan will play the final against West Indies on March 25 at the Harare sports club.