Afghanistan keep cricket dream alive

Opener Karim Sadiq dreams of scoring a century today and snatching a place at the 2011 World Cup for mighty minnows Afghanistan.

Opener Karim Sadiq dreams of scoring a century today and snatching a place at the 2011 World Cup for mighty minnows Afghanistan.

The war-torn country faces Namibia in their last World Cup Qualifier Super 8 fixture and victory would lift them to six points on the standings and offer a slender chance of squeezing through on net run rate.

But the Afghans will require plenty of favours from rivals among the eight survivors on a day when Ireland, who became the first qualifiers on Wednesday, face Kenya, Scotland play United Arab Emirates and Canada meet Netherlands.

So intriguing is the situation that the second-placed Canadians could fail to make the fourth-place cut-off for World Cup slots while bottom-of-the-table Scotland still hold a mathematical chance.

Sadiq, whose 92 runs and two wickets helped Afghanistan to a 42-run midweek victory over Scotland, insists the cricket warriors have not abandoned hope of completing a fairytale rise from obscurity to the World Cup.

"I hope to score a century on Friday and give my country a big chance of getting to the World Cup," he told AFP.

Coach Kabir Khan, a former Pakistan Test paceman, insists failure is a word long banished from the Afghan cricket lexicon as they seek to defy overwhelming odds. - Sapa-AFP

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