Afghanistan beat Ireland in World Twenty20 qualifier
Afghanistan continued their remarkable emergence as a cricketing nation with victory over Ireland in their opening World T20 qualifying fixture in Dubai.
The team, all of whom learned to play the game in Pakistani refugee camps whilst exiled from Afghanistan during the rule of the Taliban, have rapidly established themselves as one of the leading non-test sides and are competing for one of two remaining places at the tournament in the West Indies.
The 19 run victory was spearheaded by Mohammed Nabi who followed up his crucial 43 not out with a haul of 2-25 in his four overs. There were also key contributions for the Afghans from opener Noor Ali, who made 42 and off-spinner Karim Sadiq whose 3-17 included the Irish captain William Porterfield for 35.
It is a victory which will provide a serious boost in confidence for Afghanistan, particularly given Ireland’s standout performances at last year’s T20 World Cup in England and the 2007 World Cup.
Next up is a clash against Scotland before an encounter with the USA which is likely to attract attention for more reasons than just cricket.