We believe we can win World Cup, says Afghanistan skipper Stanikzai

Striking image Paul Stirling adds to Ireland’s run tally yesterday

Striking image Paul Stirling adds to Ireland’s run tally yesterday

Already having clinched their respective World Cup berths, West Indies and Afghanistan will aim to finish the current edition of the ICC World Cup Qualifier with a bang when they square off in Sunday's final in Harare.

After being handed an unlikely lifeline to secure a place at next summer's 10-team tournament, Ireland's hopes of competing at a fourth consecutive World Cup were left in tatters with a five-wicket defeat to Afghanistan this afternoon.

After three losses in their first three games of the Cricket World Cup Qualifier, Afghanistan stood on the cusp of being eliminated from a tournament they had been favorites to progress from at the earliest-possible opportunity.

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"We would like not only to participate in the World Cup, but to perform and to even beat more countries because we're not an Associate any more", said Stanikzai. Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, United Arab Emirates, West Indies and Zimbabwe were drawn to play for the remaining two spots in the World Cup. He presently has 99 wickets from 43 ODIs, while Mitchell Starc achieved the 100-wicket milestone in his 52nd ODI.

"I don't think we have played the ideal game as yet. That is good for cricket, says a lot about world cricket and the standard of cricket".

"First of all, congratulations to Afghanistan", he said.

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"They've gotten the better of us in the Super Six game and warm-up game so there is all to play for here in this last game". "This is nothing but a miracle that we have won this tournament".

Although Scotland could have lost the match, and probably would have lost it, the odds favoured them had the match been completed.

Gulbadin Naib made a watchful 45 off 91 balls before he was out to Rankin and the Afghan run rate slowed when Rahmat Shah went for 12 to Singh in the 29th over with Ireland perhaps scenting an unlikely victory. Shahzad played some remarkable shots in his 93-ball innings, clubbing 11 fours and two sixes before holing out to the part-time spin of Gayle.

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No.7 batsman Rovman Powell finished as the top scorer with a 75-ball 44, while Shimron Hetmyer (38), Evin Lewis (27), Ashley Nurse (26 not out) and Shai Hope (23) were the other batsmen to cross the 20-run mark.

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