Afghanistan have given themselves a great chance of securing the second World Cup place available from the World Cricket League Championship after a second win in two games against Namibia in Windhoek today.
Batting first after winning the toss, Namibia's top order put in a much better performance than in the first game on Friday, with the opening pair of Xander Pitchers and Raymond van Schoor putting on 51 before van Schoor was the first batsman dismissed. Pitchers and Stephan Baard then put on another 50 for the second wicket before Pitchers and then Craig Williams fell in quick succession.
Baard and captain Sarel Burger then put on 71 for the fourth wicket to get the Namibian innings back on track in a partnership dominated by Baard. But Baard's dismissal for 67 sparked an amazing collapse as Namibia lost their last seven wickets for just 19 runs, Hamid Hassan slicing through the middle order with four wickets as Namibia were bowled out for just 193.
Afghanistan's run chase started with a 106 run opening partnership between Mohammad Shahzad and Nawroz Mangal, before they gave the Afghanistan fans watching on TV back home a scare by losing three wickets in just eight balls, Shahzad getting out for 62 and Mangal for 41.
Two more wickets fell, but captain Mohammad Nabi led his team home by clubbing an unbeaten 46 from just 23 balls, hitting a six to secure a five wicket win with almost 20 overs to spare. The two big wins on the tour of Namibia have given Afghanistan a huge boost to their net run rate as we head into the final round of WCL Championship matches. The Afghans are on 15 points with Scotland and the Netherlands, whilst the UAE are just one point behind, and also can't be ruled out. The Dutch have the advantage on net run rate at the moment, but Afghanistan are only just behind them.
The final round of matches will all be live streamed and are set to be an exciting end to what has been a fantastic and competitive tournament over the last three years. If only all international one-day cricket was like this!