Afghanistan eye Aussie victory after Scotland success


DUNEDIN: Afghanistan’s Samiullah Shenwari said Thursday that defeating Scotland for his side’s maiden World Cup win was only an appetiser and the minnows were relishing the prospect of toppling Australia in their next outing.

Man-of-the-match Shenwari’s 96 helped Afghanistan clinch a one-wicket victory over Scotland with three balls remaining at Dunedin’s University Oval to ensure their first World Cup will be a memorable one.

The all-rounder, who learned his cricket in a refugee camp, said the Scotland win would be a huge boost for the game in Afghanistan, where it has been growing in popularity over the past decade.

“There was nothing before. You can look 10 or eight years ago, there was nothing in Afghanistan,” he said.

“But now you can in the streets, schools, everywhere you go, it’s just cricket and cricket.”

While Afghanistan entered the World Cup as minnows, they have not been overawed by more fancied opponents and have brought an exuberant brand of cricket to the tournament.

They looked a realistic prospect of upsetting Sri Lanka last weekend when they reduced the former world champions to 51 for four before a Mahela Jayawardene century restored the status quo.

Shenwari said Afghanistan were hungry for more wins in their remaining matches at the tournament, where they are yet to face Australia and New Zealand, the two co-hosts, as well as England, in pool play.

He added Afghanistan were looking forward to meeting four-time champions Australia in Perth next week.

“Hopefully we’ll give them a tough time and we will not give up easy,” he said.

“So we’re looking forward to giving them a tough time and looking forward to winning the match.” AFP