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Naib Believes Afghanistan Is ‘Getting Better’ In Cricket

Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib after the match against India on Saturday said that they are sad because they missed a chance to beat India but said that his team is “getting better”.  

“In the World Cup, it’s a big achievement for any team. But the big teams, they don’t give you a single chance. Today we missed an opportunity to win, to beat India, one of the best sides,” Naib told reporters.

With Saturday’s match, Afghanistan having now recorded six straight losses and sitting bottom of the table.

Mohammad Nabi, Afghanistan’s all-rounder was a key player for his team who took two wickets and was his side’s highest scorer with 52 runs before falling in the last over of the match.

“Today Nabi showed the skills, how he’s one of the best players of Afghanistan and also in the world,” Naib said.

“Actually, we planned that we’re going to take the match at the end to the five overs. So Nabi played really well according to the plan,” he said.

“When we played first four games, we lost really badly, and then we played against England and now India – strong sides and also they are the favorites of the tournament. So I think we’re now getting better and better day by day,” he added.

Afghanistan to play Bangladesh on Monday and the match will started at 2pm Kabul time.

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Afghanistan Finishes Second In AFC Futsal Championship

The National U20 Futsal Team finished second in the AFC Futsal Championship after losing the final match against Japan.

The match was held in the city of Tabriz, Iran, on Saturday.

This is the first time that Afghanistan is reaching the final of the futsal championship.

The match was started with a storm of attacks by Afghan side but the first two goals were scored by Japan in the first half.

The Afghan side hit the first goal in the second half and had many attacks but could not score a goal.

The match ended 3-1 in Japan’s favor.

Japan has won the title two times in its history.

The two teams played a friendly match before the start of the AFC Championship, in which Afghanistan defeated Japan 4-3.

Momrak is coaching the U20 futsal team since 2013 and so far the team has scored 10 goals in the AFC U20 Championship.

The national futsal team member Sayed Hussain Musawi has scored six goals in the championship.

Kabul residents welcomed the success of the national team in the tournament.

“I request all the Afghan people not to forget the national [futsal] team in their prayers. Afghanistan should win the championship,” said Humayun Danish, a Kabul resident.

President Ashraf Ghani congratulated the National U20 Futsal Team for finishing second in the Asian championship. Ghani thanked the national players for their hard work, the Presidential Palace says in a statement.

The U20 futsal team has so far defeated Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia in the AFC Futsal Championship.

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Afghanistan To Face Japan In AFC Futsal Championship Final

The U20 National Futsal Team will enter the ground against Japan in the final match of the AFC U20 Futsal Championship with a high morale, the Afghanistan coach Abdul Razaq Mamrak said on Friday. 

The match will be held in the city of Tabriz, Iran, on Saturday at 06:30pm Kabul time.

This is the first time that Afghanistan is reaching the final of the futsal championship.

Japan has won the title two times in its history.

The two teams played a friendly match before the start of the AFC Championship, in which Afghanistan defeated Japan 4-3.

“The players are in a good condition and the good news for the final match is that Ali Jafari, a good member of the team, has recover and will join us in the match against Japan. We all have a good morale,” the national team’s coach said.

Mamrak is coaching the U20 futsal team since 2013 and so far the team has scored 10 goals in the AFC U20 Championship.

The national futsal team member Sayed Hussain Musawi has scored six goals in the championship.

“We will appear better in the final match and we will be the champions,” said Jawed Safari, the national team’s member.

Kabul residents welcomed the victory of national team and said they will win against Japan as well.

“I request all the Afghan people not to forget the national [futsal] team in their prayers. Afghanistan should win the championship,” said Humayun Danish, a Kabul resident.

President Ashraf Ghani also appreciated the team’s victory and had a telephonic conversation with the head coach on Thursday.

Ghani has sent a government delegation to Iran to support the national team in the final match.

The U20 futsal team has so far defeated Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia in the AFC Futsal Championship.

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Afghanistan Through To AFC Futsal Championship’s Final

The National U20 Futsal Team entered the AFC Futsal U20 Championship’s final after a brilliant 4-3 win against Indonesia. 

The first goal of the match was hit by Afghan players but soon the first half ended in a 1-1 draw.

The second half meanwhile ended in a 3-3 draw which led to the extra time. But finally, Afghanistan hit the golden goal and confirmed their place in the final match.

Afghanistan will play against either Iran or Japan in the final match.

The Afghan team defeated Thailand 3-2 in their third match in the AFC Futsal Championship and entered the semifinal.

Afghanistan defeated Hong Kong in the group stage but they were defeated by Iran.

Meanwhile, congratulatory messages poured in amid the historic win of the Afghan team.

“We pray for more success for the under-20 national futsal team and rest of the sportsmen of the country,” Abdullah said in a tweet.

“Congratulations to the Afghanistan U-20 Futsal team for winning the semi-final vs Indonesia in the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship to book their place in the final,” the UN mission said in a tweet.

The match was held in Iran.

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Strong Start For National U20 Futsal Team In AFC Championship

Afghanistan’s U20 National Futsal Team strongly started the AFC Futsal Championship in Iran and defeated Hong Kong 6-1 in their first match. Hong Kong bow out from the tournament.

Afghanistan was in total control in the opening minutes, as they forced Hong Kong goalkeeper Justin Law Ho Yeung into early action, but the East Asian defence held firm.

However, there was only so much Law could have done against the non-stop Afghan attacks as the Central Asians broke the deadlock through Mojtaba Mohammadi’s effort in the sixth minute.

Haid Reze Hossaini beating Hong Kong the keeper from a tight angle but his strike deflected off the post, but with Law out of position and the goalmouth left unguarded, Mohammadi latched onto the rebound and made no mistake with a firm right-footed shot.

Hong Kong were reduced to long range throws, but Afghanistan reacted quickly to deny them.

Afghanistan kept the pressure on, and it almost paid off in the 17th minute when Mohammadi intercepted a back-pass before sending it to Hassan Ali Jafari, but his close-range attempt was denied by the custodian’s boots.

The East Asians gave Afghanistan a scare a minute later, when Leo Chow Ka Lok headed a kick-in into the penalty area, where Wong Wai Kwok was waiting, but the forward failed to keep his shot down as it deflected off the top bar.

Abdul Razaq Momrak’s side showed their set-piece prowess in the 20th minute, when quick one-touch passes led to Sadiq Zaheri tapping in his first goal of the tournament, with Seyed Hosseini Mousavi claiming the assist.

Ali Arab Zada got into the goalscoring action two minutes into the second half, when he sprinted down the left flank before letting loose an unstoppable strike that found the back of the net to make it 3-0.

Hong Kong’s campaign now hung in the balance as they trailed by three goals, which forced them out of their own half and press the issue.

Mousavi, who was Afghanistan’s top scorer in the Central Zone Qualifiers, had a taste of glory with a goal of his own after side-stepping two Hong Kong players outside the box in the 36th minute, before doubling his personal tally a minute later from the same position.

Afghanistan will face Iran in their second match on Sunday night and the match will kick off at 7:30pm Kabul time.

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Afghanistan’s Opener Shahzad Out Of World Cup

Mohammad Shahzad, the Afghanistan opener, is out of ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, with wicket-keeper batsman Ikram Ali Khil called up as a replacement, according to a report by ICC website.

The ICC has confirmed that the Event Technical Committee of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 has approved Khil as a replacement player for Shahzad in the Afghanistan squad for the remainder of the tournament.

Shahzad had retired hurt after suffering a knee injury in Afghanistan’s warm-up fixture against Pakistan. While the wicket-keeper batsman featured in their opening games against Australia and Sri Lanka, the aggravated injury has ruled him out of participation in the rest of the competition.

Since the 2015 World Cup, Shahzad has been Afghanistan’s second highest run-scorer in one-day internationals with 1843 runs in 55 innings. Ali Khil, his replacement, made his international debut against Ireland last year.

The replacement of a player requires the approval of the Event Technical Committee before the replacement player can be officially added to the squad.

The Event Technical Committee of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 consists of Geoff Allardice (ICC, ETC chairman), Campbell Jamieson (ICC representative), Steve Elworthy (CWC representative), Alan Fordham (host representative), Harsha Bhogle and Kumar Sangakkara (both independent representatives).

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Sri Lanka Beat Afghanistan By 34 Runs

Sri Lanka defeated Afghanistan by 34 runs in a well-fought match at Cardiff on Tuesday. 

Having won the toss, Afghanistan chose to bowl first.

Sri Lanka started with a quick opening stand of 92 runs which was broken by Mohammad Nabi in 14th over.

However, Sri Lanka lost quick wickets later; midway during the game, the play stopped after 33 overs due to rain when Sri Lanka 182/8.

The match was reduced to 41 overs under D/L method as Sri Lanka were all out for 201 which meant Afghanistan was given a revised target of 187.

Kushal Perera top scored for Sri Lanka with 78.

Mohammad Nabi registered best bowling figures for Afghanistan 4/30 and was well supported by Rashid and Dawlat who took two wickets each.

In response, Afghanistan had a good start, but the middle order lost their wickets quickly. Skipper Gulbadin and Najib showed a good fight with a 66-run partnership for the 6th wicket.

However, after their stand was broken, Afghanistan lost wickets quickly and were all out for 152 thus, conceding the match by 34 runs.

Nuwan Pradeep was the pick of the bowlers for Sri Lanka picking up 4/31 while an impressive spell of 3/39 from Lasith Malinga supported him well.

Pradeep was named player of the match.

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Promising Afghanistan To Face Sri Lanka In Cricket World Cup

Afghanistan will face Sri Lanka in their second Cricket World Cup match at the Cardiff stadium on Tuesday. 

The match will kick off at 2pm Kabul time on Tuesday.

Despite only one previous Cricket World Cup appearance and relative inexperience against top-level opposition, Afghanistan will go into this tournament knowing that they are capable of toppling the best of sides.

Sitting at No.10 in the MRF Tyres ICC ODI rankings, they are the lowest ranked team in the tournament. This will not dismay them however, as they boast a roster of short-format global icons, and an impressive warmup game victory against Pakistan was a timely way to outline their intentions before the campaign begins.

They won just once in their previous outing at cricket’s flagship tournament, against Scotland, but the side’s meteoric rise since achieving Full Membership in 2017 has captured the imagination of cricket fans worldwide. Qualifying for the tournament-proper via success in the 2018 Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, Afghanistan have quickly established themselves as a force in world cricket, their success encapsulated by their outstanding, exuberant supporters whose contributions are almost as impactful and colourful as their beloved nation’s performances.

To put things into perspective, since World Cup 2015, Afghanistan has won more One Day International contests than Sri Lanka despite participating in 22 lesser games.

Although Sri Lankan skipper Dimuth Karunaratne is being quite practical about his side’s chances in this World Cup, he hopes to see a better performance from his team against Afghanistan.

However, Sri Lanka has never won a game at the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff in the six matches they have played there. Their sixth defeat came against New Zealand, earlier in this mega tournament.

On the other side are Afghanistan; a team which fights; a team which works hard in silence; a team which is constantly improving. Against Australia, in their opening clash, Afghanistan tried to hit out of the way. However, in 50-overs cricket, that is seldom a successful approach and although Afghanistan was impressive in patches, they will need to play good cricket for 100 overs to clinch a win against a top side.

The match is also under rain threat as it is expected to rain in Cardiff when the teams are scheduled to meet.

However, keeping all that aside, it is during this World that Afghanistan’s ODI Ranking and reputation will be tested against top-rated ODI sides and at international cricket’s most coveted tournament. As both the teams meet for this game, Afghanistan’s Rahmat Shah — who is their leading run scorer since 2015 — and their wrist spinners will be in the spotlight.

As far as Sri Lanka are concerned, the wise old head of Angelo Mathews needs to produce an innings of substance here. Lasith Malinga is fit and available for selection while Nuwan Pradeep might get a spot in the Playing 11 after missing out on the New Zealand game.

A fascinating contest is on the cards then from the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. The action begins from 3:00 PM (IST).

Squads:

Afghanistan: Gulbadin Naib (c), Aftab Alam, Asghar Afghan, Dawlat Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Mujeeb ur Rehman, Najibullah Zadran, Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Rashid Khan, Samiullah Shinwari

Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Dhananjaya de Silva, Nuwan Pradeep, Avishka Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Mendis (wk), Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Perera (wk), Thisara Perera, Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay

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