Afghanistan arrived at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers as favourites, but three straight defeats in the tournament leaves their chances dampened as they need to beat Nepal by a huge margin to see themselves in the Super Six of the ICC event in Zimbabwe.
In the ICC World Cup qualifiers, Afghanistan were beaten by Scotland by 7 wickets and Zimbabwe by 2 runs in their first two matches, and on 8 March (Thursday), they had to face a surprise defeat at the hands of Hong Kong by 30 runs via DLS method at the Bulawayo Athletic Club.
Hong Kong posted 241 on the board, but the match was reduced to 46 ovs due to the rain delay.Afghanistan failed to chase down the target of 226 runs, as they lost the game by 30-runs. Now, Rashid Khan led Afghanistan have to beat Nepal on 10 March at Bulawayo by a huge margin to alive their chances in the tournament.
As per ESPN Cricinfo, Rashid told reporters, “When the pressure was on, we couldn't control our nerves, and that caused us to lose the match. You can't expect such a performance from Afghanistan, the way we have played in the last two years. The guys played some irresponsible cricket, which wasn't expected from them. But it happens sometimes in cricket. Sometimes it doesn't go your way. Sometimes a match doesn't go your way. Sometimes a tournament doesn't go your way.”
The skipper further added, "Before the tournament, we lost the skipper. And now we lost an aggressive batsman in Shahzad. Things just weren't going our way. It was a big loss for us, Shahzad, because you know how good he is.”
Rashid signed off by saying, “If we can gain something in the Nepal game, and then something happens between Hong Kong and Nepal anything can happen. But the way we played in the last three games, it's not what you expect from Afghanistan. But we'll come back positive.”