ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers, 2010
Afghanistan Win ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers in Style14-Feb-2010 02:46:00 GMT
Dubai: Riding on the crest of a wave that carried them through to the World Twenty20 earlier today, Afghanistan finished the qualifying tournament in style cantering to victory over Ireland in the final by eight wickets.
After the tension of the two 'semi final' matches that saw both teams secure their place in the Caribbean, the final had a festival air to it under the bright lights of the Dubai International Stadium.
With the crowd already in good cheer and the players' minds uncluttered by the pressure of needing a win, the Afghanistan batsmen blazed happily away at Ireland's total with Mohammad Shahzad guiding them home with a boundary-filled 65 that secured his team passage into Group C, alongside South Africa and India, in the main event in May.
There was a crowd of about 6,000 at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, the vast majority of whom extremely vocal in their support for Afghanistan, cheering every run scored or dot ball bowled, and screaming for boundaries and wickets.
In the end, Kabir Khan's men proved too strong again for Ireland, batting with great maturity and skill to knock off Ireland's competitive total of 146. Mohammad Shahzad finished unbeaten on 65 as Ireland failed to reproduce the bowling form that brought it through the Super Four stage unbeaten and ensured it qualified for its third global ICC event in succession.
ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat, who presented the trophy to the winning captain, congratulated both teams on their qualification for the ICC World Twenty20.
"It is a great achievement for these teams to make it through to the West Indies," he said.
"The quality of cricket on display this week has been very high and the competition fierce so Afghanistan and Ireland can rightly feel proud of themselves tonight.
Ireland: 142 for 8 (Cusack 28, Nangal 3-23)
Afghanistan: 147 for 2 (Shahzad 65, Johnston 1-28)
Result: Afghanistan beat Ireland by eight wickets.
|Afghanistan team with ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers trophy|