Cricket: Afghanistan

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.



1839; 1995-2017

Afghanistan, cricket- some facts- 1839-2017- Part-I
From: May 27, 2018: The Times of India
Afghanistan, cricket- some facts- 1839-2017- Part-II
From: May 27, 2018: The Times of India

See graphics:

Afghanistan, cricket- some facts- 1839-2017- Part-I

Afghanistan, cricket- some facts- 1839-2017- Part-II

1995-2019 May

Vivek Krishnan , June 1, 2019: The Times of India


As Afghanistan brace up for their opening encounter of the 2019 World Cup against Australia, it can be easy to overlook how far the men from the war-torn nation have traversed in a short span of time. Vivek Krishnan chronicles their progress

1995: Formation of the Afghanistan Cricket Board.

2001: Elected as an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

2009: Made their debut in ODI cricket. Up against Scotland, they registered a comprehensive 89-run victory.

2010: Qualified for the World T20 in the Caribbean, their first highprofile global tournament. They lost both their matches but not before getting the exposure of playing against some of their heroes from India and South Africa.

2012: Played their first ODI against a full member of the ICC when they took on Pakistan in a one-off match at Sharjah.

2013: Became an associate member of the ICC.

2015: Played their maiden 50-over World Cup. They made their World Cup debut against Bangladesh in Canberra, while their first win in the tournament came against Scotland in Dunedin. During the year, they also entered the top-10 of the ODI rankings for the first time.

2016: Beat eventual champions West Indies in the World T20 in a group game in Nagpur.

2017: Granted full membership of the ICC along with Ireland. They also defeated the West Indies in the same year, marking the first instance of them getting the better of a top-eight side.

2018: They made the cut for the 2019 World Cup after winning the qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe. They also made their Test debut against India in Bengaluru. During the Asia Cup in UAE, they defeated Sri Lanka and tied a game with India.

2019: Notched up their maiden Test victory, beating Ireland in Dehradun. TNN

Afghanistan versus Sri Lanka: WCC 2015

The Times of India

Feb 23 2015

Mahela Bursts Afghan Bubble

Former Captain scores ton to rescue SL from 51-4

Put into bat, Afghanistan lost both openers by the 10th over. But Stanikzai and Shenwari added 88 for the third wicket. They were hopeful of putting up 250-plus but could score just 10 runs in batting powerplay.

Sri Lanka's chase got off to a disastrous start as they lost Dilshan and Thirimanne for first ball ducks. Sanga followed soon and at 51-4, a major upset was on cards. Mahela brought in all his experience and scored a ton to stabilise things.

Angelo Mathews and Mahela both departed in quick succession though to put the Afghans back on track. But Thisara Perera's big-hitting skills came in handy as the burly all-rounder smashed an unbeaten 47 in 26 balls to see the 1996 champs home.

1 Number of times in WC both openers have got out for first-ball ducks.Thirimanne, Dilshan registered the dubious feat

10 Number of runs Afghanistan scored in the batting powerplay, losing two wickets. Four of those runs came through wides.

1075 Runs by Mahela in WC, the 4th Lankan after Sanath, De Silva and Sanga to score 1000 runs.

2015: Won ODI against Zimbabwe

The Times of India, Oct 26 2015

Prasad RS

Win hasn't sunk in yet, says Nabi

Afghan skipper is `relieved' after first win over test-playing nation

They come from a war-torn nation where playing sport is a luxury, but that has not stopped the Afghanistan cricket team from expressing themselves every time they take the field. In Oct 2015 in Bulawayo against Zimbabwe was no different as the Afghans not only defended a target of 245 to seal the ODI series 3-2, they became the first associate nation to beat a Full Member country . While the entire team understandably celebrated the win, their feat was acknowledged by numerous fans back in Kabul. For man-of-the-series Mohammed Nabi, the historic-win marked a new chapter in Afghanistan's short cricketing history . Nabi has been part of all the 56 ODIs for the Afghans so far.


Afghanistan beats Zimbabwe to claim ODI series

The Times of IndiaJan 08 2016


Stun Zimbabwe To Claim ODI Series

Gulbadin Naib hit a career best, undefeated 82 as Afghanistan defeated Zimbabwe by two wickets to win the fifth ODI and take the series 32.

With the win, Afghanistan managed to retain their place in the top 10 of the ICC ODI rankings. They had broken into the top-10 after their 49-run win in the first match of the tournament, but had to win the series to retain their place.

This is the second time Afghanistan have won a series against a Test-playing nation.They had beaten Zimbabwe by the same margin in Oct 2015.

T20: Beat West Indies

The Economic Times, 27 Mar, 2016

Afghanistan create history, beat West Indies in World T20

Minnows Afghanistan scripted history as they defeated 2012 champions West Indies by 6 runs in their final group league encounter of the ICC World Twenty20 here to sign off on a memorable note.

West Indies failed to surpass a target of 124 as the Associate nation were able to restrict them to 117 for eight.

The defeat does not change anything in final equations as West Indies have already qualified for the semi-finals and also maintained their pole position in the table. They will play their semi-final in Mumbai.

The story of the day, however, was all about the talented Afghan boys, who have impressed one and all with their spirited display so far in the tournament.

After a string of close losses, the Afghans kept their calm on today to beat a much-fancied West Indies side, who looked formidable even in the absence of Chris Gayle.

There were emotional scenes all around after Afghanistan completed the formalities, prompting West Indian star Chris Gayle, who was rested from today's game, to congratulate them and even pose for pictures with the victorious team.

Afghanistan scored 123/7 in 20 overs after being put into bat. Najibullah Zadran's 40-ball-48 studded with four boundaries and a six was the reason for them reaching a fighting total after being down at 56 for five.

In reply, the Afghan bowlers maintained a disciplined line and length.

It was heartening to see skipper Asghar Stanikzai toss up the ball to off-spinner Mohammed Nabi with West Indies needing 10 runs off the last over.

Afghan cricket, 2009- 2017

Afghan cricket, 2009- 2017
From The Times of India

See graphic above.


June 2017/ Granted Test status

Avijit Ghosh |Conflict gave cricket to war-torn Afghanistan | Jun 23 2017 |The Times of India (Delhi)


The Afghanistan Cricket Board was formed in 1995 and the country became an affiliate member of the ICC in 2001. Who would have thought that they would have gained ICC's full membership and Test status within 16 years? They have also been among the game's fastest learners.

In recent times, Afghanistan have become the best among the minnows of world cricket. Even against Zimbabwe, a Test playing nation, they have an 11-8 ODI record.Against Bangladesh, they are 2-3.Earlier this month, captain Asghar Stanikzai's men shocked the West Indies at home carving out a handsome 63 run victory at St Lucia.

Leg spinner Rashid Khan produced one of the most eye-popping spells in the history of ODIs: seven for 18. At least, Khan can waltz into India's Test team.

There is a reason why Sunrisers Hyderabad paid Rs 4 crore for him; he went on to become the sixth highest wicket taker in IPL 10.

War has been Afghanistan's curse. Strangely, it was conflict that gave cricket to Afghanistan. The USSR invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 which lasted nearly a decade created millions of refugees in the bordering areas of Pakistan. The immigrants kept coming and going for decades. Many of them were seduced by cricket. Later, as they returned home, the game struck root even in the country's interiors.

The Test matches are likely to be played in Shaheed Vijay Singh Sports Complex in Greater Noida, Afghanistan's official home ground.

November 2017/ Win under-19 Asia Cup title

Afghanistan claim maiden Under-19 Asia Cup title, November 20, 2017: The Times of India

Afghanistan thrashed Pakistan in the final of the Under-19 Asia Cup to register a historic triumph and lift the title at the Kinrara Academy Oval in Kuala Lumpur, reports Chasing 248, Pakistan were trounced by 185 runs as they folded for 63.

Pakistan just couldn’t recover from the early punches Mujeeb Zadran landed. The pacer nipped out the openers - Mohammad Arif (4) and Omair Yousuf (0) - inside the fourth over to leave Pakistan wobbling 11for 2. Things just went pear shaped for them from there on 32 for 4.

Mohammad Taha hung around for 38 deliveries, scoring 19, but failed to find partners to bat around him. Qais Ahmad ended Taha's resistance and the a lower order failed to come to terms with the constant pressure.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 248-7 in 50 overs (Ikram Ali Khil 107) beat Pakistan 63 in 22.1 overs (Mujeeb Zadran 5-13) by 185 runs.

Home ground in Dehradun

2018: the beginning

Cricket diplomacy: Doon to be Af team’s new home, June 14, 2018: The Times of India

From the Hindu Kush to the Himalayan foothills, Afghanistan cricket has just found a new home. Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand, will serve as the home ground of the Afghanistan cricket team according to an understanding which New Delhi and Kabul have arrived at, government sources said.

Afghanistan recently acquired test status and will play its first test match against India in Bangalore on June 14-18. Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah will be the chief guest for the event.

Afghanistan recently played a T 20 series against Bangladesh in Dehradun. The same stadium, official sources said, has been lent to Afghanistan to serve as its official home ground where it can host international matches.

India is hoping that this piece of cricket diplomacy will help it earn more goodwill with the Afghan people at a time there is increasing uncertainty not just about the political situation in Kabul but also India’s role in it.

As government officials here said, India has been associated with the development of cricket in Afghanistan since 2001 when Afghanistan joined ICC. In 2015, India allowed the Afghan cricket team to shift base to Greater Noida from Shariah. However, now with Afghanistan qualified to play test matches, the Indian government realised it was important for their team to have its own exclusive cricket stadium which would host their international matches.

“Most of the Afghan players have received training from Indian coaches in their formative years. India had also helped in construction of cricket stadiums and grounds in Afghanistan, like in Kandahar,” said an official.

Unlike Pakistan cricketers, Afghan players like Rashid Khan and Mohammed Nabi feature regularly in IPL and even have a fan following here. The Indian establishment is investing in Afghan cricket as it believes the game can act as a unifying force in a country otherwise torn apart by politics of ethnicity.

According to another understanding reached last month, all teams touring India will now play one practice game against Afghanistan, an arrangement which will provide international exposure to the team.



Afghanistan loses first test to India

Manuja Veerappa, India crush Afghanistan by an innings and 262 runs in debut Test, June 15, 2018: The Times of India


Afghanistan were bowled out for 103 in their 2nd dig after following on

India recorded their biggest ever innings victory

This was India's first ever Test win inside two days

Had this historic Test match been a bout of heavyweight boxing, Afghanistan's players would have been peeling themselves off the canvas and heading to the infirmary. They will carry the scars of this rout, but one hopes - in the interests of cricket's well-being - not for long.

All it took for India to wrap up another Test victory at home was 66.3 overs and 290 minutes after lunch on the second day. India's innings and 262-run win margin will be remembered as will Afghanistan's abject capitulation. It was only the fourth instance when a Test team has been dismissed twice in a day - in Afghanistan's case over less than two sessions.

The visiting team, who came dressed in their festive best on the occasion of Eid-al-Fitr before slipping into white flannels, didn't have much to celebrate in the end.

Replying to India's first innings tally of 474 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Afghanistan mustered 109 in their first essay. Their second essay, after being asked to follow-on, was similar - 103 runs. However, one must remember that South Africa made only 84 in the first innings of their first Test against England way back in 1889.

It wasn't the only positive for Afghanistan. They did eject a formidable Indian batting line-up in about four sessions and they did show glimpses - albeit too fleeting - of what it takes to see off time in a Test match when Asghar Stanikzai and Hashmatullah Shahidi put on 37 for the fifth wicket in the second innings. Stanikzai undid all the hard work with an incredibly extravagant attempt of a hoist. In time, hopefully, the skipper will learn.

The virtue of patience and preparedness to wear down opposition bowlers is one of the hardest lessons Afghanistan will have to imbibe from this game. There was little in terms of footwork and even less in intent of rotating the strike too. But then, they are a team that is only one Test match - nay just two days - old.

India's bowlers were too quick and skillful for this inexperienced side. Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav returned match hauls four each, while spin combo of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja finished with five and six wickets respectively.

The Afghans began to unravel in the fourth over of their first innings when a direct hit from Pandya at point sent back sauntering opener Mohammad Shahzad. Thus, began the visitors parade back to the pavilion with only Mohammad Nabi putting up a fighting 24 (44b, 4x4).

In the second essay, the only two players who returned decent numbers were Sahidi (36 n.o, 88b, 4x6) and Stanikzai (25, 58, 4x4, 1x6).

Ashwin completed the formalities in the extended hour, cleaning up Wafadar's middle stump.

Earlier, starting at an overnight score of 347/6, India added 127 runs in 26.5 overs, losing four wickets in the process. Overnight batsman Ashwin (18, 39b, 1x4) did not extend his stay at the crease for long. Wicketkeeper Ahmad Zazai pouched a Yamin Ahmadzai delivery edged by Ashwin.

The pacer could have accounted for Ravindra Jadeja in the next ball, but first Zazai and then skipper Stanikzai, at first slip, failed to hold on to a catch, which ensured a 67-run eight-wicket partnership between Hardik Pandya and Jadeja. In the meanwhile, Pandya helped himself to a half-century (71, 94b, 10x4).

During his 130 minutes stay at the creases, Pandya wasn't his flamboyant self. Instead, he played a measured and mature innings. He patiently waited for the loose balls to be put away. Hardik's vigil ended when he gifted a catch to Zazai off Wafadar.

Before India wrapped up the innings, the last man in -Umesh Yadav- who was cheered on vivaciously by the crowd for his Royal Challengers Bangalore connection-entertained with a 21-ball 26 which included two maximums and an equal number of fours.

Umesh's blitz set the tone for the domination of the Indian bowlers for the rest of the day.

Brief Scores: India 474 (Shikhar Dhawan 107, Murali Vijay 105 ) beat Afghanistan (109 & 103) by an innings and 262 runs


Bangladesh series

Test matches

 Rashid gives a stunning victory

Sep 10, 2019: The Times of India

Rashid Khan claimed 6-49 and completed his maiden 10-wicket haul as Afghanistan defied rain and fading light to beat Bangladesh by a massive 224 runs in the oneoff Test in Chittagong.

Rashid grabbed three of the remaining four wickets as Afghanistan took 17.2 overs on the fifth day to bowl out Bangladesh for 173 in the second innings after the hosts resumed with 136-6.

Play started on the fifth day in the afternoon after rain wiped out the first session. It returned in abundance after the visitors bowled just 2.1 overs without being able to inflict any damage on the home side.

Play resumed again after about three hours and Afghanistan were given 18.3 overs to bowl out Bangladesh, which was chasing a target of 398 runs. Left-arm chinaman Zahir Khan dismissed overnight batsman Shakib Al Hasan in the first ball after the resumption, dealing a serious blow to the home side.

Afsar Zazai took a sharp catch behind the stump to remove Shakib for 44 and then Rashid did the rest.

BRIEF SCORES: Afghanistan 342 & 260 beat Bangladesh 205 & 173 (Shakib 44, Shadman 41, Rashid 6-49) . AFP 


First to score a century in Tests: Rahmat Shah/ 2019

Rahmat Shah steers Afghanistan with historic century

Chittagong: Rahmat Shah on Thursday became the first Afghanistan player to score a century in Test cricket. Rahmat reached the three-figure mark on the opening day of Afghanistan’s only Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong. He scored 102 off 187 balls before being dismissed by Nayeem Hasan. Rahmat came into the middle in the 13th over after the dismissal of opener Ihsanullah. He went on to put on a 120-run stand with former skipper Asghar Afghan. He finally crossed the coveted mark with a four off Nayeem Hassan. However, he went for a loose drive off the next ball and got a thick edge that was grabbed by Soumya Sarkar at first slip. At the close of play, Afghanistan were 271 for 5.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 271/5 in 96 overs (Shah 102, Afghan 88 n.o, Zazai 35 n.o; Tajiul 2-73, Nayeem 2-43) vs Bangladesh.

Youngest Test captain: Rashid Khan/ 2019

Rashid becomes youngest Test captain at 20: Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan became the youngest player ever to captain a test team when he led his side in their one-off match against Bangladesh in Chattogram on Thursday. Aged 20 years and 350 days when he walked out for the toss on the first day, Rashid broke a 15-year record held by former Zimbabwe wicketkeeper Tatenda Taibu, who was eight days older when he led his side against Sri Lanka in Harare in 2004. Rashid was appointed Afghanistan's captain across all three formats of the game in July

Test cricket

2019: Beat Ireland, register first win in Tests

Beat Ireland, Register First Win In Test, March 19, 2019: The Times of India

Afghanistan registered their first Test victory after Rahmat Shah’s second fifty of the match helped secure their seven-wicket win against Ireland in a one-off contest in Dehradun.

Chasing 147 for the victory, Afghanistan rode a 139-run stand between Shah and Ihsanullah Janat to romp home for a memorable win nine months after their chastening Test debut against India.

After falling two short of becoming Afghanistan’s first-ever Test centurion in their first innings, Shah grinded out an impressive 76, while Janat remained not out on 65.

Afghanistan lost Shah and Mohammad Nabi to back-toback deliveries in a James Cameron-Dow over before Hashmatullah Shahidi smashed the winning boundary to trigger celebrations in the Afghan dressing room.

“It’s a historic day for Afghanistan, for our team and our people,” said the winning captain Asghar Afghan, who made 67 in the first innings.

“We have been playing for a while, we have been playing first-class cricket, so we have that composure.

“The bowlers were very good, Rashid (Khan), Yamin (Ahmadzai). Now we’re going to South Africa for World Cup preparation. We will try our best to play good cricket.”

Ireland were on the backfoot from the opening day when they were bowled out for 172 at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium. Afghanistan responded with a total of 314 all out to secure a healthy first innings lead.

In-form Andrew Balbirnie top-scored with 82 in a much-improved second-innings batting display from Ireland but leg-spinner Rashid Khan’s maiden five-wicket haul restricted them to 288 all out. Both Ireland and Afghanistan were playing their second-ever Test since being awarded a full member status in 2017.

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