Afghanistan, who went through the first half of ICC World Cup Qualifier, became the second team to qualify for the mega 10-team event to be held in 2019, on Friday (March 23).
“We had only one per cent chance to qualify for the World Cup. We can’t believe it but anything is possible in cricket. Sometimes we were thinking we were out (of the Super Sixes). We prayed for the other teams. When Nepal beat Hong Kong, then UAE beat Zimbabwe, we were into the semi-final. Now we beat Ireland and have qualified for the final,” Mohammad Shahzad, who top-scored with a fine 54, said, following their five-wicket win.
“When we were about to not qualify for the Super Sixes it was very disappointing for us, because the way we worked hard in the last four or five months for the qualifiers – we weren’t expecting to be in this position,” Rashid Khan noted.
“We made it to the Super Six and from then on, everything changed. We started to win against West Indies, and then a miracle happened between UAE and Zimbabwe – something very unexpected. We had in mind anything can happen. If we lose to Scotland, Zimbabwe and Hong Kong, why can’t Zimbabwe lose to UAE? We just needed to focus on these three games – and win them,” the legspinner, who picked up three wickets in the game, added.
Focusing on just their game against Ireland was, however, easier said than done. In fact, Rashid mentioned how few of their players were at the Zimbabwe game, and once Zimbabwe lost, they knew they were in with a chance. “A few guys watched [UAE v Zimbabwe] here in the ground, but I watched in the hotel. It was a real high-pressure match. Then we had to have a team meeting, so we were in the meeting when someone came in and said “Zimbabwe lost”. We knew we’ve got a chance and we’ve got to take it,” Rashid added.