Afghanistan reached the World Cup for the 1st time on Friday (04-10-13), completing a remarkable journey from immigrant camp cricket to rubbing shoulders with the sport's superpowers.
The team who were playing in the 5th-tier just 5 years ago, and are forced by the precarious security situation in their country to stage home matches in the Gulf, swept past Kenya by 7 wickets to secure an historic spot in the 2015 showpiece.
After dismissing Kenya for just 93 in the 44th over at the Sharjah Cricket Ground, Afghanistan reached their target in the 21st over when skipper Mohammad Nabi hit Shem Ngoche for a boundary through midwicket.
They had to endure a brief moment of worry before romping to win when they were reduced to 34 for 3.But Nabi, who ended on 46 not out, and Hashmatullah Shaidi, put on 62 for the fourth wicket to bring their side home with 175 balls to spare.
Nabi smashed two huge 6 and 3 fours to assure his team of second place in the World Cricket League behind runaway winners Ireland who have also qualified for the World Cup. Afghanistan will play in Pool A at the World Cup in 2015 along with co-hosts Australia and New Zealand as well as Bangladesh, England, Sri Lanka and another qualifier.
Netherlands, UAE, Scotland, Kenya, Namibia, Canada, Uganda, Hong Kong, Nepal and Papua New Guinea will now compete for the last 2 World Cup berths at the last qualifying event to be staged in New Zealand in February next year. Afghanistan were already overwhelming favourites to beat Kenya in the last match of an exhausting 2-year qualifying competition.
In Monday Twenty20 international, they routed the African side by 106 runs and carried that form through to Wednesday when they romped to victory by 8 wickets in the first of the 2 determining ODIs.Then, Kenya were dismissed for just 89 with Afghanistan reaching their target inside 18 overs.
On Friday, Kenya were put into bat and struggled again with Morris Ouma top-scoring with 39.
Rakep Patel, with 18, was the only other batsman to reach double figures in an innings where the first boundary didn't arrive until the 16th over. Slow left-armer Hamza Hotak was the leading Afghanistan bowler, claiming 3-19 off his 10 overs.