Dubai: South African all-rounder David Miller aptly named Afghanistan the Joy of the World Cup. The Asian minnows made a startling turnaround in this showpiece when they stunned three former World Cup champions and almost delivered the knockout punch on the current champions Australia.
“They’ve been really, really good to watch,” said Miller of Afghanistan. “They’re a team that’s certainly growing in confidence. They’ve shown that they can compete. I mean this World Cup they’ve done really, really well, beaten some big teams.”
What makes the Afghanistan team special. They have a bunch of players, some globetrotters, who play with their heart out and true to the spirit. There is not one who doesn’t enjoy their game and wear their hearts on their sleeves.
The bowling had the variety that suited for the conditions, but their batting was not up to the mark while the fielding standards were probably at the bottom of the international table.
While the batting improved during the course of the tournament, the fielding remained inconsistent. But that was not a major hurdle as they finished with eight points from four wins. A massive improvement on their earlier shows as they had just one win in two World Cups prior to this.
Fighting till the end
Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi, after losing the final league match against South Africa, said: “As a captain, I am happy with our performances during this campaign. We fought till the last moment in each and every game. We had some good learnings for the future too. I am proud of the way our batters performed in this tournament.”
The skipper went on to elaborate on the strategy that made them into world beaters.
“We were struggling before the World Cup, but sat together and talked about our weaknesses. In the end, our batters came good and it is a positive sign for the future. Everyone knows we have good spinners and if we go with the same momentum that we had in the batting department this World Cup, we will do well. We gave a good message to the world. We played big teams and we fought till the last moment, even if we lost. Even the Australia game was in our hand, but it was shocking the way Maxwell batted, but there were lots of learnings too.”