Afghan cricket team home from successful Europe trip
KABUL (Pajhwok): The national cricket team on Wednesday returned home from Europe after beating Scotland and the Netherlands, cruising to the top spot in the ICC Intercontinental Cup points table.
Afghanistan defeated hosts Netherlands inside two days by an innings and 36 runs on Saturday in Voorburg to reach 61 points from four matches. The defending champions Ireland are on 60 points, having played one less match.
The Intercontinental Cup, a four-day first-class competition, is an integral part of the cricket schedule for sides below the 10 Test playing countries and is a pathway to Test cricket.
The winner will take on the 10th-ranked Test team in an ICC Test Challenge in 2018. If the ICC Intercontinental Cup winners win the ICC Test Challenge, they will secure Test status until the next ICC Test Challenge, which will take place in 2022.
On return from Europe, the Afghan team was warmly welcomed at the Hamid Karzi international airport by Afghanistan cricket board (ACB) officials, including ACB CEO Shafiqullah Stanikzai.
Stanikzai told reporters the Europe tour came to a successful end because the Afghan team not only achieved the fixed aim but also achieved the top position in the ICC Intercontinental Cup.
Captain Asghar Stanikzai told Pajhwok Afghan News they played well in both the departments – bowling and batting.
He said the Afghan side had already played against Ireland and had tasted defeat at their hands, but this time there had been a lot of improvement in the players’ abilities.
He said the Afghanistan team returned successful from the tour because they had gone tough practice ahead of the trip.
Afghanistan defeated Scotland 1-0 in a two-ODI series and ended in a draw with Ireland in a five-ODI series before travelling to the Netherlands.
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