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ICC World Cup 2019 | Afghanistan Celebrate Win Over Pakistan With Pride & Gunfire

Reuters |May 25, 2019, 5:43 PM IST
ICC World Cup 2019 | Afghanistan Celebrate Win Over Pakistan With Pride & Gunfire

Afghanistan's victory over Pakistan in a warmup match for the Cricket World Cup on Friday was greeted with prolonged volleys of celebratory gunfire and prompted a rare show of unity in a country split by increasingly bitter political divisions.

Lifted by a controlled 74 not out by Hashmatullah Shahidi and a quickfire 49 from Hazratullah Zazai, the Blue Tigers chased down Pakistan's total of 262 to win by three wickets in a timely boost before the World Cup starts on Thursday.

For Afghanistan, still searching for peace after decades of war, the victory was especially sweet because it came against Pakistan.

Many Afghans accuse their neighbour of supporting the Taliban and fuelling instability in their country, a charge which Pakistan, for its part, denies.

As the match concluded, automatic gunfire rang out across Kabul as fans rushed into the streets of the Afghan capital in now a familiar celebration of cricket success.

The rise of Afghan cricket has been a remarkable by-product of the decades of turmoil that forced millions into refugee camps across the border in Pakistan, where young men uprooted from home and with little to occupy them learned the sport.

On social media, politicians set aside brawls in parliament and bitter accusations of corruption, incompetence and nepotism to hail the team under Gulbadin Naib who hope to make the semi-finals.

"We, the Afghans, defeated Pakistan in cricket," tweeted Amrullah Saleh, a former intelligence chief now running on President Ashraf Ghani's team for elections in September.

"Yes it happened this evening and a massive mark was registered in history."

Similar messages came from a range of other officials and political figures.

In a sporting concession, Gen. Asif Ghafoor, the powerful head of the Pakistani military communications wing, sent a tweet saying "Well played Afgan Cricket Team".

Amid the congratulations, there was also criticism of the gunfire which regularly greets sporting success.

"Celebrating with gunfire is a shame, those who are interested in gunshots can join ANDSF, we need them on the battlefield," said Abdul Moqim Abdulrahimzai, a senior official in the interior ministry, referring to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.

Cricket World Cup Points Table

Pos Team P W L T/NR PTS NRR
1
IND
9 7 1 1 15 +0.80
2
AUS
9 7 2 0 14 +0.86
3
ENG
9 6 3 0 12 +1.15
4
NZ
9 5 3 1 11 +0.17
5
PAK
9 5 3 1 11 -0.43
6
SL
9 3 4 2 8 -0.91
7
SA
9 3 5 1 7 -0.03
8
BAN
9 3 5 1 7 -0.41
9
WI
9 2 6 1 5 -0.22
10
AFG
9 0 9 0 0 -1.32

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more