Afghanistan needs to play against big countries: Inzamam
NAGPUR, India (AP) — Afghanistan coach Inzamam-ul-Haq believes his team’s triumph against World Twenty20 title contenders West Indies on Sunday could bring more opportunities to compete against test playing nations.
“No doubt it’s a very big win for us,” former Pakistan captain Inzamam said. “Today’s win is a signal that this team can do much better if it gets more opportunities against big nations.”
It was Afghanistan’s first victory in T20s and one-day internationals against test playing nations — apart from Zimbabwe.
Afghanistan scored 123-7 before its spinners restricted West Indies to 117-8 for a six-run victory, handing the Group 1 leaders their first defeat in four matches.
Seasoned offspinner Mohammad Nabi and 17-year-old legspinner Rashid Khan baffled the West Indies with identical figures of 2-26 while left-arm spinner Amir Hamza, who bowled with the new ball, contained the opposition with a miserly four-over spell to finish with 1-9.
“Afghanistan has talent, skill and passion, and the more we play against big teams, the more we will learn and give such performances,” Inzamam said.
Afghanistan qualified for the Super 10 after beating Scotland, Hong Kong and Zimbabwe — all on the same turning wickets at Nagpur. It bowed out of the tournament with a solitary victory after providing tough opposition for Sri Lanka, England and South Africa.
The three victories in the qualifying stage gave Afghanistan “home” advantage over West Indies, which also struggled at times against South Africa in Nagpur on Friday.
“We knew this ground better than the West Indies because we had won all our qualifying matches here and it’s like a home to us,” Inzamam said.
Afghanistan attracted much neutral support while competing against accomplished teams in their four group matches.
Captain Asghar Stanikzai scored 62 off 47 balls as Afghanistan posted a respectable 153-7 in the opening Group 1 match, with Sri Lanka reaching its target with only seven balls left.
Afghanistan lost its second match to South Africa by 37 runs but not before opening batsman Mohammad Shahzad scored a swashbuckling 44 off 19 balls in pursuit of South Africa’s 209.
Afghanistan’s best chance of a win came when it reduced England to 85-7 in the 15th over before Moeen Ali hit an unbeaten 41 as England went on to win by 15 runs.
“We didn’t lose any games in a one-sided manner,” Inzamam said. “The team always believed in itself and we could have been standing somewhere else in this tournament had we won against England and Sri Lanka.”