ICC World Cup: We have a 50-50 chance against Australia: Afghanistan coach
Perth: At the outset, the statement may sound unbelievable, but it is filled with hope nevertheless. Hope of a bunch of cricketers, who have fought against all odds to brush shoulders with world cricket's elite at this World Cup.
Afghanistan players warm-up during a training session in Perth yesterday. Pic/AFP
That's the reason not a single mediaperson at yesterday's pre-match media conference laughed or even smiled for that matter, when Afghanistan coach Peter Anderson gave his Davids a 50 per cent chance of beating Goliaths, Australia at the WACA today.
"Look, this match is like a shop-front for us. It's an opportunity for our guys to express themselves. And deep down, we feel we have a 50-50 chance to beat Australia. It's an opportunity to show the world, what talent we have in Afghanistan," said Anderson at the WACA yesterday.
Afghanistan created history at this World Cup when they registered their first victory, against Scotland recently. And like, most of his teammates, who have risen from the ashes of war and aggression, captain Mohammad Nabi is hopeful that Afghan cricket can only rise hereon.
"Everyone back home enjoyed the Scotland game. We received congratulatory calls from our president (Ashraf Ghani) and (former president) Hamid Karzai. The Scotland win has given us a lot of confidence. We played against Australia in Sharjah around a year and a half back.
"They scored 250 at that time and we scored about 200 and played out the full 50-over game. This team of ours is better from that one then," added Nabi, who was born in a refugee camp near Peshawar after his parents fled their home during the war with the Soviet Union.
Australia skipper Michael Clarke had a word of praise for the Afghans.
"I've watched them play throughout this World Cup and a few of their individuals have really stood up and performed well. At our team meeting later this evening, we'll look through their strengths and the areas we can attack," said Clarke, who will be missing pacer Pat Cummins today due to a side strain.
Michael Clarke Australia
> Batting doesn’t flop
> Pacer Mitchell Starc continues his good form
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Mohammad Nabi Afghanistan
> Warner is dismissed early
> Samiullah Shenwari scores big
> Starc is well tackled