19th June, England v South Africa, 09:30 GMT
Despite their superb form in the qualifying tournament Afghanistan’s prospects in the ICC World Twenty20 2012 are not good. In their first appearance in the tournament in 2010 they exited without winning a game. Sadly 2012 may be repeat of this as they are in a tough group with England and India both of whom could be listed amongst the favourites for the competition. Despite this they should not be written off as a team that could cause an upset, they cruised to the final of the qualifying tournament without losing a single game in the group stage and only coming unstuck against Ireland in the final. The good news for the Afghan team is that fast bowler Hamid Hassan will be making a welcome return to the side after being out with injury since January. Despite not featuring in the pre-tournament build up games, Afghanistan feel confident that Hassan will be fit for the real event. Other key players include the in-form Mohammad Shahzad, Samiullah Shenwari and Dawlat Zadran. Shahzad was outstanding during the ICC WT20 qualifying campaign with scores of 77 from 57 versus Ireland, and 54 from 44 versus the Netherlands while all-rounder Shenwari performed well with both the bat and the ball, versus Canada he scored 61 from 34 deliveries and delivered figures of four overs for 14 runs taking four wickets . If they are to make it out of the group stage these players will have to repeat these performances against far superior opposition.
For Afghanistan though this tournament is not simply about winning; their mere presence at the ICC WT20 championships should be celebrated as a sign of regeneration in a country which, in recent years, has been torn apart by war. No matter what the outcome this season has been a success for the Afghan team as they continue to be one of the fastest developing teams in world cricket.
2012 – ICC WT20 Qualifying tournament WWWWWWWWL
March 13th: W versus Papua New Guinea won by 6 wickets
March 14th: W versus Netherlands by 4 wickets
March 15th: W versus Denmark by 89 runs
March 16th: W versus Nepal by 34 runs
March 18th: W versus Canada by 41 runs
March 19th: W versus Hong Kong by 9 wickets
March 20th: W versus Bermuda by 15 runs
March 22nd: W versus Namibia by 47 runs
March 24th: L versus Ireland by 5 wickets
Previous Tournament Performances
2007: Did not qualify
2009: Did not qualify
2010: Eliminated in group stage (defeated by South Africa and India)
Group A: England, India, Afghanistan
Afghanistan v India, Colombo (1930)
England v Afghanistan, Colombo (1930)
Nawroz Mangal (captain), Javed Ahmadi, Mohammad Nasim Baras, Izatullah Dawlatzai, Hamid Hassan, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbodin Naib, Karim Sadiq, Shafiqullah, Mohammad Shahzad (wicket-keeper), Samiullah Shenwari, Asghar Stanikzai, Dawlat Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Shapoor Zadra
Our prediction: eliminated in group stage
© Cricket World 2012
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