The Journey of Afghanistan Cricket: How they changed their fate in the game
- From playing in the 5th Division in 2008 to organising its Inaugural Global T20 Tournament in 2018... they come a far way.
Performance in T20s
Afghanistan is currently ranked 8th in the T20 Rankings ahead of teams like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. They have played in 4 ICC T20 World Cups in the years 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016. The 2014 T20 World Cup in Bangladesh brought Afghanistan their first win in the history of the T20 World Cup as they went on to beat Hong Kong by 7 wickets. Afghanistan had never prevailed beyond the First Round of the T20 World Cup till the 2016 T20 World Cup in India.
In the 2016 T20 World Cup, Afghanistan was grouped with Zimbabwe, Scotland and Hong Kong in Group B. Afghanistan registered comfortable wins over all three of them to top Group B and go ahead of the group stages for the first time. Bangladesh and Afghanistan qualified as winners of Group A and B respectively to make it to the Super 10s.
In the super 10s, Afghanistan was grouped with West Indies, England, South Africa, and Sri Lanka. In the first two games, Afghanistan was completely outplayed by Sri Lanka and South Africa as they lost both the games.
Their third game of the Super 10s saw them face England who they valiantly reduced to 142 for 7 in 20 overs owing to the brilliance of Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan. Both of them ended with identical figures of 2 for 17 in 4 overs each. Afghanistan put up a tough fight but eventually fell short by 15 runs at the end of their 20 overs.
After putting up an inspiring performance against England, the Afghanistan team took on West Indies in their last game of the tournament with nothing to lose. Afghanistan riding on Zadran’s 48 off 40 balls put up a total of 123 for 7 at the end of their 20 overs. What lied ahead was something no one could have imagined.
The spin twins Nabi and Rashid once again ended with identical figures of 2 for 26 in 4 over each to defeat the West Indies by 6 runs. The West Indies, later on, went on to win the ICC T20 World Cup for 2016 after defeating England in the finals by 4 wickets. Mohammad Nabi ended as the leading wicket-taker of the tournament picking up 12 wickets.