|Under 19 World Cup Qualifier: Ireland, July-August 2011|
Afghanistan and Namibia seal their places
ICC Media Release
The most convincing performance of the final day was by Afghanistan at the Strabane Cricket Club against Canada. Both sides needed a win to go through to the World Cup. But it was Afghanistan who played brilliantly to bowl out Canada for 71 in 32.2 overs. The Afghanistan bowlers shared the wickets around. In its reply, opener Javed Ahmadi made an unbeaten 34 to lead the side to the World Cup.
Ahmadi won the Man of the Match award for his knock and was thrilled at being part of the side that qualified: “I cannot explain the emotions in the dressing room right now. We are all absolutely over the moon. Today’s victory belonged to the fielders. They were just brilliant and ran their first two batsmen out. When I batted, it was all very simple, since we did not have much to chase.”
Namibia had one eye on the Nepal v USA encounter when it took on Kenya at the Drummond Cricket Club. The side had to win by a big margin to strengthen its claims for qualification. Skipper Stephen Baard led from the front to help his side qualify. Baard made 89 off 93 balls with three boundaries. His knock helped Namibia post an impressive 314 for five in its 50 overs. Kenya’s chase revolved around Duncan Allan (34). But once Allan fell, the chase was not on and Kenya ended at 205 for eight in its 50 overs. Baard picked up two for 34 to star with an all-round performance.
Baard was thrilled to lead his side from the front to the finals and also to win the Man of the Match award: “I had to lead the way for the side. We had to win and win big. It was an easy paced track. The batsmen had it easy during the day. We knew if we posted a huge score, it will become easier to qualify. I cannot explain the feelings right now as we celebrate the qualification.”
For Kenya’s Allan the only consolation of the day was being voted the Player of the Tournament for his all-round performances. But Allan said he would have gladly traded this for a berth in the ICC U19 World Cup: “I am disappointed we did not make it. It would have been great to be part of the tournament next year. But I learnt a lot this time playing this tournament and I believe am a better player for the experience.”