Eleven splendid suns

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Afghanistan players celebrate after defeating Kenya by seven wickets in the last World League Championship match in Sharjah on Friday (ICC Photo) Afghanistan players celebrate after defeating Kenya by seven wickets in the last World League Championship match in Sharjah on Friday (ICC Photo)
SummaryAfghanistan make 2015 World Cup, history, by crushing former semifinalists Kenya.

and do our best to beat some full member teams,” he said.

Division 5 to elite group

It was only five years ago when Afghanistan was playing in World Cricket League Division 5 -- the lowest ranked tournament among the affiliate members.

But since then Afghanistan has made rapid progress, and its status was raised to an Associate member. “Afghanistan’s journey has been a remarkable one,” ICC chief executive David Richardson said in congratulating the team.

UAE also played an important part in the Afghans’ progress, as Sharjah has been their home base for at least two years. They have competed against Australia and Pakistan in ODIs at Sharjah.

In 2010, Afghanistan qualified for the World T20 in West Indies, and last year played in the World T20 in Sri Lanka. Afghanistan didn’t win a match in either. Khan said he hoped ICC full member neighbours such as India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will help Afghanistan prepare for the World Cup by playing ODIs with them.

“It’s always helpful when you play against full member countries, unfortunately we don’t get much chance to play against them,” he said. “I think at least neighboring countries like India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka should help us.”

With time to prepare, Khan hopes Afghanistan makes a statement in 2015. “We just want to leave our mark (at the World Cup) and we want other teams to notice us,” he said.

Fast bowler Hamid Hasan helped to restrict Kenya to only seven runs in the first 10 overs with some superb swing bowling, and clean-bowled tailenders Nelson Odhiambo and Hiren Varaiya off successive deliveries. “I’ve already lost all my words, but I am so, so happy. This is the happiest day of my life,” Hasan said. “To me it’s unbelievable, a dream come true.”

Brief Scores: Kenya 93 all out in 43.3 ov (Morris Ouma 39, Hamza Hotak 3-19, Karim Sadiq 10, Mohd Nabi 2-10, Hamid Hassan 2-11) vs Afghanistan 96-3 in 20.5 ov (Mohammad Nabi 46*, Hashmatullah Shaidi 13*; Shem Ngoche 2-30).

13 yrs in making

2001: The Afghanistan Cricket Federation comes into existence, set up by Afghan expats in Pakistan. Afghanistan, recognised as an Affiliate member, tour Pakistan, losing three matches and drawing two.

2004: Play in the ACC Elite Cup and win one match, beating Bahrain.

2007: Bag their first title, sharing the ACC T20 Cup with Oman after the final is tied. They win the tournament in 2009, 2011 and 2013.

2008: Win Division

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