Afghanistan cruise into Asian Games semis
KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghanistan marched into Asian Games cricket semifinals after beating Nepal by nine runs in South Korea on Wednesday, when the Afghan cricket chief appealed to top cricket nations to tour the war-torn country.
"I am telling the players to come to my country and play there, they will treasure those memories forever," Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chairman Shahzada Massoud told a foreign news agency at the Asian Games.
ACB spokesman Farid Hotak told Pajhwok Afghan News Afghanistan played the quarterfinals match against Nepal on Wednesday morning.
Invited to bat after losing the toss, the Afghanistan-A team scored 119 runs for all wickets in the 20 overs game after a shaky start with experienced Karim Sadiq getting out in the second ball.
But Mohammad Shahzad hit 43 off 34 balls taking the side to a bit strong position.
The Nepalese too weren’t with a good start as they lost three wickets with just 30 on the scoreboard. But a partnership of 78 between Binod Bhandari and Gyanedra Malla revived Nepal’s hope to seal the low-scoring match.
Fareed Ahmad registered four wickets in his name breaking the partnership. He also removed Basant Regmi and Malla while Nepal needed 18 in 12 balls.
Nepal needed 16 off the last over in which they managed only seven. With the win, Afghanistan qualified to play semi-final against Hong Kong on Thursday.
Currently in South Korea with the national side, ACB patron Massoud said they wanted support from other nations. We had lots of problems in the last 30 years because of the uncertain security situation, but that needs to be erased from our minds and heart now.”
He said a new stadium in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, was comparable to any stadium in Asia, and has already hosted club and first-class teams from Pakistan.
"It would have been so exciting if Sachin Tendulkar had come and played in our country. I hope Mahendra Singh Dhoni can make it."
But Afghanistan's greatest achievement so far is qualifying for next year's showpiece 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
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