Stanikzai hails importance of Afghanistan World T20 progression


Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai hailed the importance of Saturday's win over Zimbabwe as they reached the Super 10 stage of the World Twenty20.

A half-century from Mohammad Nabi and Samiullah Shenwari's 43 led Afghanistan to 186-6, a total they had little problem defending as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 127 in response.

The 59-run win ensures Afghanistan's progression from Group B and sees them placed in Group 1 of the Super 10 stage, setting up contests with the three most recent winners in Sri Lanka, West Indies and England as well as South Africa.

It marks the first time Afghanistan have gone beyond the opening round at the World T20 and Stanikzai said: "This match was very important for Afghanistan, the people wanted us to play in the World Cup. They love cricket back home.

"[Mohammad] Shahzad started very well, we played a few poor shots, but Sami and Nabi played very well. After a long time, our middle order has performed. Thanks to the people for praying for us."

Man of the match Nabi, who also took 1-14 with the ball, added: "I am very happy with my performance, especially in this main match and it was a tough game in the qualifying round.

"The start was very good, the way Shahzad played in the first five overs. It was quite good.

"Then the three wickets put us under pressure, the coach [Inzamam-ul-Haq] told me to take singles until the 14th over and then the last six can be used for the big hits.

"On that kind of pitch, 150 could be a winning target, but if you have wickets in hand, you can go for more."