When the 2018 ICC World Cup Qualifiers started, West Indies and Afghanistan were the favourites to qualify for the final and 2019 World Cup. But Afghanistan suffered three shocking losses in the group league stage to all but end their hopes of making it to the Super Six. Afghanistan had no points from three matches. Afghanistan, however, won against Nepal by six wickets in less than 40 overs to improve their net run-rate. But their chance of qualifying for Super Six was still bleak.
But then a miracle happened!
Zimbabwe and Scotland had qualified for Super Six from Group B. The third team was yet to be decided. Afghanistan had two points from four matches and Hong Kong also had two points but from three matches. Hong Kong had to win against Nepal to qualify as their net run-rate was lower than Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s hopes relied on Nepal beating Hong Kong to qualify. And to everyone’s surprise, Nepal created a major upset, beating Hong Kong by five wickets.
Afghanistan qualified for Super Six, courtesy Nepal.
But they did not carry forward any points in Super Six as they had lost to other qualifiers Zimbabwe and Scotland. Afghanistan started with 0 points in Super Six from two matches. They had to win all their Super Six games and even then their chances of qualifying was doubtful. It all depends on how other teams fared.
Afghanistan lifted their game and defeated a strong West Indies and UAE to get four points.
But Zimbabwe and Scotland were still in run for a place in final. And either of them needed to win their last game against UAE and West Indies respectively to spoil Afghanistan’s party. But to everyone’s surprise, both of them lost via D/L method to pave the way for Afghanistan.
If Afghanistan beat Ireland, they will qualify for 2019 World Cup.
It’s as simple as that. The ball is on Afghan’s court now. There could not have been a better miracle than this.