Afghanistan have made it to the ICC Cricket World Cup tournament 2019 by thrashing Ireland by five wickets in a tension-filled last Super Six match of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 at the Harare Sports Club on Friday.
Afghanistan earlier had very less chances to qualify after they lost their first three group matches but managed to qualify for the Super Six after Nepal upset Hong Kong. After winning both their Super Six matches against the Windies and the United Arab Emirates, they received an unexpected lifeline on Thursday when the UAE held their nerves to shock Zimbabwe by three runs.
Afghanistan restricted Ireland for runs on what looked like a good batting surface and restricted them to 209 for seven. They then almost made a hash of a straightforward run-chase before coasting home for the loss of five wickets with five balls to spare in what turned out to be a battle of attrition.
Afghanistan have joined the Windies as the second qualifier from the Zimbabwe event and the two sides will now go head to head in the final at the Harare Sports Club on Sunday.
Opener Mohammad Shahzad, who was named player of the match for a brisk knock of 54, said Afghanistan had found form in time.
“We lost a couple of matches but we played good cricket in the Super Sixes. We had to win this game. The plan was simple, I was looking for the loose deliveries, I did not care whether (it was a) spinner or fast bowler, I went for it. I believe in myself and the senior management staff encouraged me. Today I waited for the loose delivery and smashed the ball. Let’s see West Indies, we are coming!” Shahzad said.