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    Experts praise Afghan cricketers’ spirit

    KABUL (PAN): Cricket experts, praising Afghanistan cricketers’ fighting spirit in their first-ever one-day international against Pakistan in Sharjah, on Saturday said the side lost for being minnows.

    Pakistan beat Afghanistan by seven wickets in the Friday's one-day international cricket match.

    Despite losing, Afghanistan put up a spirited show before a 15,000-strong crowd, hitting six sixes in their 195 and taking two early wickets when Pakistan batted.

    Former cricket coach, Hasti Gul Abid, the national team played well beyond expectations of the Afghans.

    The Afghan batsmen faced admirably the world's number one spin bowler, Syed Ajmal, who proved devastating against England, he said, adding another setback for the side was the absence of fast bowler, Hamid Hassan.

    Another cricket expert, Rahim Gul Sarwan said the main reason behind the loss for Afghans was the lack of experience and Pakistani cricket team had a vast experience in the game.

    "No one could think of such runs by Afghan cricketers," cricket fan, Mohammad Nabbi Wiqar, told Pajhwok Afghan News. He said if Javed Ahmadi or Shabir Noori had been in the team, they could prove beneficial.

     Meanwhile, a large number of Afghans did not go to work on Friday and enthusiastically watched the match between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Some Afghans went to Sharjah for the event.

    Cricket in the country had previously fans in south, southeast and eastern provinces only, but frequent victories by the national team led to increased number of fans across the country.

    According to Suleman, a resident of Chilsotoon area of capital Kabul, he with his family followed the match on television till late Friday night.

    "I did not watch cricket in the past, but the Sharjah match attracted me because the national team was playing against Pakistan," he said.

    Despite covered by several media outlets inside and outside Afghanistan, a large number of people commented and shared links on social network, Facebook.

    Even the Taliban, once against the game, have sent a message, saying they prayed for the team’s success.

    Afghanistan earned one-day status in 2009 and have since achieved several milestones, qualifying for the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean and finishing silver medallists in the Asian Games in China, both in 2010.

    They also won Inter-Continental Cup, meant for associate teams, in 2010. Afghanistan will play in the World Twenty20 qualifiers in the United Arab Emirates next month.

    frm/ma



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