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Afghanistan crown Twenty20 berth with victory

cricket Updated: Feb 14, 2010 09:34 IST

AFP
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Afghanistan capped their fairytale qualification for the World Twenty20 cricket finals by beating Ireland in the final match of the qualifying tournament in Dubai.

The Afghans had already secured a place in the April 30-May 16 showpiece in the West Indies by beating hosts United Arab Emirates by four wickets and they signed off in style with a comfortable victory over Ireland yesterday.

Mohammad Shahzad finished unbeaten on 65, with Karim Sadiq contributing 34, as Afghanistan breezed past Ireland's total of 146 for the loss of just two wickets at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Afghanistan will play India and South Africa in Group C of the World Twenty20, which is the first major tournament they have ever reached.

Ireland, meanwhile, will face the West Indies and England in Group D.

"It's a big thing for Afghanistan, for the cricketers and the nation," said proud Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan, whose side were in the fifth division of the world cricket league just two years ago.

"It speaks for itself about how great an achievement it is for the side. For me personally it's my greatest achievement as a coach so far and I am extremely proud for the team and for all of Afghanistan."