Confidence Afghanistan will maintain its momentum
ICC MEDIA RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dubai, 1 October 2013
Mohammad Nabi confident Afghanistan will maintain its momentum to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015
“It has been my dream to play in a World Cup and it seems that that dream is about to become a reality”
Obuya needs 24 more runs to become fourth Kenya batsman to score 2,000 runs in ODIs
First ODI to be played on Wednesday, 500 days before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 commences
SNTV to put out VNRs of both the ODIs
Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi has no doubt that his side can win direct qualification to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 as it prepares for its final round of the do-or-die double-header in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Championship against Kenya on 2 and 4 October at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Afghanistan is currently ranked fourth in the competition on 15 points, behind Ireland (24 points), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Netherlands (18 points each). With only the top two teams qualifying directly to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Afghanistan needs to record a 2-0 victory over Kenya to leapfrog into second place and progress alongside Ireland to the ICC’s most prestigious event.
The two ODIs are the last fixtures in the WCL Championship, a tournament that commenced in 2011 and which features the eight leading Associate and Affiliate sides competing for two direct qualification spots at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Ireland has already won the tournament and become the first side to earn automatic qualification, but a battle is still raging on for the crucial second spot, with Afghanistan and the UAE both in contention.
Should Afghanistan defeat Kenya 2-0, it will climb to 19 points and secure second place to guarantee its maiden appearance at the ICC’s flagship 50-over event. However, should Afghanistan lose either of the crucial encounters, second-ranked UAE will retain its position and join Ireland in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.
Afghanistan captain and all-rounder Mohammed Nabi said his side was not feeling the pressure of the two must-win matches. “We’re enjoying our cricket and training hard. Yesterday’s T20I victory, where we bowled Kenya out for the lowest T20I score, was a perfect preparation ahead of these all-important matches,” he remarked.
Afghanistan . has won seven of its 12 matches so far, while it has lost four matches toUnited Arab Emirates (by 15 runs and 69 runs), the Netherlands (by nine wickets) and Ireland (by 59 runs).
“After just three wins in the beginning, it was a simple case of winning all the matches to earn an automatic qualification for the World Cup. We have won our last four matches and I’m sure we’ll maintain that winning momentum in the final two ODIs.
“The players have lifted their performances and there have been good collective efforts. One of our strong points is that everyone is contributing and we’re not a team that is relying on one player. The players are fit and raring to win the matches, and make our nation proud.
“I mean, we have done everything that a team is supposed to do ahead of big matches, and I’m confident that if we execute our plans properly, we have a 90 per cent chance of winning both the matches,” he said.
The two sides are evenly matched in head-to-head records, having only faced each other four times previously in ODI cricket, with both sides winning two matches apiece. All four meetings took place in 2010, and Wednesday’s first match will be held 500 days before the first ball is bowled in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 on 14 February.
Nabi said his dream was to play in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. “It has been my dream to play in a World Cup and it seems that that dream is about to become a reality. To play a World Cup in Australia and New Zealand will be the perfect icing on the cake. I would not like to make premature comments but if we qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, then our side has the potential to upset at least one Full Member.
“Kenya has played in previous World Cups but this a young side that is learning and gaining experience. I’m sure we’ll be able to overcome then,” he said.
Kenya is currently sitting in sixth position after having won five of its 12 matches. It’s victories came against the UAE (by 66 runs D/L method), Namibia (by six wickets), Canada (twice by six wickets) and tournament winner Ireland (by seven wickets).
Kenya has played in the ICC Cricket World Cup three times previously, including in 2003, where it reached the semi-final after defeating sides like Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
Kenya captain Collins Obuya is his side’s most experienced player having represented his country in 100 ODIs to date. In the next couple of matches, he’ll be aiming to score another 24 runs that will make him the fourth Kenya batsman after Steve Tikolo (3,362), Thomas Odoyo (2,364) and Kennedy Otieno (2,016) to score 2,000 or more runs in One-Day Internationals.
Fast bowler Nehemiah Odhiambo with 70 wickets is his country’s fourth most successful bowler while left-arm spinner Hiren Varaiya has claimed 65 wickets in 59 ODIs. Thomas Odoyo with 137 wickets leads the field.
Afghanistan (from) - Mohammad Nabi (captain), Mirwais Ashraf, Hamid Hassan, Amir Hamza Hotak, Nowroz Mangal, Mohammad Shehzad, Karim Sadiq, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Samiullah Shinwari, Sayed Ahmed Shirzad, Mohammad Asghar Stanikzai, Shahpur Zadran, Afsar Khan Zazai and Rahmat Shah Zurmati
Kenya (from) – Collins Obuya (captain), Ragheb Aga, Dhiren Gondaria, Irfan Karim, Shem Ngoche, Alex Obanda, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Nelson Odhiambo, Elijah Otieno, Morris Ouma, Rakep Patel, Gurdeep Singh, Hiren Varaiya and Dominic Wesonga
– Buddhi Pradhan and Ruchira Palliyaguru
Match referee – Graeme LaBrooy
Both the ODIs will start at 1000 local time (0600 GMT)
Pepsi ICC WCL Championship (remaining seventh round fixtures)
Oct – 1st ODI, Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah
4 Oct – 2nd ODI, Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah
Pepsi ICC WCL Championship points table
(as on 29 September, after UAE-Namibia
* Ireland has already sealed a place in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, regardless of how the seventh and final round matches of the competition pan out
For more information on the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Championship, please click here.
Umpire and match referee appointments can be found here.