For a team that's never played a oneday international (let alone tests) or isn't even an associate member of International cricket council (but affiliate member), Afghanistan had already done miracle by qualifying for T20 world cup 2010 but does that mean pack your bags, enjoy week long free Caribbean tour and come back home?
Afghan refugees have had a story of underdog that surprized the world so far this year and decided stand up to their hero teams like India and South Africa. and went down fighting..
Today against South Africa in last league game of group C, Afghanistan were up with a rare second chance to show their skills on live television and their captain Nowroz Mangal took a good decision of bowling first, unleashing left arm breeze pacer Shapoor Zadran and capturing first 5 Proteas wickets for less than 100 runs on board.
Afghanistan's fielding wasn't upto the mark in game against India and it didn't change much overnight but boy, did they caught well in this match. Captain Mangal took 3 good catches as South Africans couldn't score at a pace they would have liked to. Leg spinner Mohammad Nabi reminded days of Shane Warne with his gile and accuracy but Hamid Hassan proved to be their best bowler. Coming in 5th change, Hassan regularly clocked 140kmph speed and grabbed prized wickets of Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher plumb leg before wicket before claiming JP Duminy.
Albie Morkel hit some lusty blows to take tournament contenders South Africa to an unimpressive but fightable total of 139.
Afghanistan batsmen's inability against short pitched deliveries was exposed by Ashish Nehra in first match and today South African new ball bowlers made most of it, dismissing first 7 batsmen without a double figure individual score.
4 wickets for 8 runs soon turned into 6 for 14 and then 8 wkts for 32 runs.. Dale Steyn, Charl Langeveldt and Morne Morkel utilised bounce off Barbados pitch to good effect and Afghans were falling like a pack of cards. All time lowest T20 team total looked certain to be rewritten but as has been their story this year, boys in blue and red found Samiullah Shenwari, Mirwais Ashraf and Hamid Hassan for rescue. Last two partnerships added 33 and 25 valuable runs to salvage some pride.
Morne Morkel was the man of the match for his 4 wickets for 20 runs from 4 overs.
The scoresSouth Africa 139 for 7 wkts in 20 overs
Jack Kallis 34, JP Duminy 25, H Hassan 3/21
Afghanistan 80 allout in 16 overs (59 short)
Full scorecard : SA v Afghanistan, World T20.