A FAIRY TALE RISE
The rise—and rise--of Afghanistan cricket through the ranks, from the lower levels to the highest one, has been a phenomenal ...
ACC TROPHY IN 2006
After being granted associate membership of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) in 2003, the team hit the ground running in the 2006 Asian Cricket Council Trophy, reaching the semi-final. That increased the excitement among the Afghan public, and the next few years were full of impressive performances. Under the leadership of Nawroz Mangal and with impassioned fans spurring them on, Afghanistan became joint winners of the inaugural ACC Twenty20 Cup in 2007 after the final against Oman ended in a tie.
The same year, Afghanistan won the ICC World Cricket League Division Five, defeating Jersey in the final. They remained unbeaten in the ICC World Cricket League Division Four in Tanzania and then won the ICC World Cricket League Division Three in Argentina. Their performances in the ICC World Cricket League paved the way for Afghanistan to take part in the qualifiers for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. The side did remarkably well to reach the Super Eight stage in South Africa in 2009 but faltered at the last stage, where they lost to Canada.
However, their run helped them gain one-day international status in April 2009—a phenomenal achievement considering they started out barely eight years before. Afghanistan next set their sights on the ICC World T20 in 2010, qualifying for the event by winning the ICC World T20 Qualifier 2010 held in Dubai, defeating Ireland in the final by eight wickets. They rubbed shoulders with the big boys on the biggest stage, but not with much success, losing to India and South Africa to crash out of the tournament early. They recovered from their first World T20 tournament quickly though, beating Scotland in the ICC Intercontinental Cup final in Dubai in December the same year to win the event at their first attempt.
Afghanistan first faced a full member in an ODI with a clash against Pakistan in Sharjah on 10 February 2012. Although they lost by seven wickets, it was a red-letter day in the history of Afghanistan cricket. They also hosted Australia in a one-off ODI in Sharjah the same year.