Afghanistan, Scotland seek 1st WCup win in Pool A clash
DUNEDIN, New Zealand (AP) — Either Afghanistan or Scotland will post a first-ever win in a Cricket World Cup match when they meet in a Pool A match on Thursday at the University Oval, unless New Zealand’s fickle weather intervenes.
Afghanistan is playing at its first World Cup, Scotland at its third and for both a win would be a reward for the struggle they have made to take a place at this tournament among the world’s top nations.
No team has faced greater odds than Afghanistan, which has been a member of the International Cricket Council for only 14 years and has a team made up in part by players who learnt the game in refugee camps while in exile from their war-torn homeland.
Afghanistan was competitive against former World Cup winner Sri Lanka in its most-recent match, so will likely start favorite, but did lose to Scotland in their most recent clash in Abu Dhabi.
“We lost that game (but) we learned a lot of things from that game,” Afghanistan’s Javed Ahmadi said. “They are also one of the ICC associate members and they’re doing good in this tournament, as well, so we try our best.”
Scotland is still searching for a maiden World Cup win at its third appearance, and in its previous game it failed to live up to heightened expectation when it lost heavily against a previously out-of-form England.
However the Scots fancy their chances of a breakthrough victory against Afghanistan, with captain Preston Mommsen saying the team will stick with the strategy that worked in Abu Dhabi and which gave his team a “huge psychological advantage.”
“A win would mean a lot to us as a team, to the squad, to the staff and to everyone back home,” Mommsen said. “We’ve gathered a huge amount of support in these first two games. It’s been quite incredible to know that there is so much support for Scottish cricket.
“It would be brilliant to give something back and to get that first win. It’s something that Scotland has never done, and tomorrow presents a brilliant opportunity to actually go out and achieve that.”