Afghanistan thrash Ireland to qualify for ‘ICC World Cup 2019’

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Afghanistan have clinched the final spot at the 2019 Cricket World Cup after holding their nerve to beat Ireland by five wickets in the final Super Six game at the World Cup Qualifier in Harare on Friday.

Chasing 210 to win, a quickfire 54 off 50 balls from opener Mohammad Shahzad had looked as if had set up a comfortable victory.

But Ireland hit back as Simi Singh took 3-30 to leave the Afghans teetering at 145-4 with 12 overs to go.

However, Afghan captain Asghar Stanikzai led by example for his side as he struck 39 not out off 29 balls, which included the winning boundary. 

He and Najibullah Zadran (17 not out) saw them hope on to allow them to join hosts England, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa and the West Indies at next year’s tournament.

Both Afghanistan and Ireland had been given a lifeline on Thursday as Zimbabwe had missed out on the chance to take the second qualification spot behind the West Indies after losing to the UAE.

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