Four balls remaining. Four runs needed. Scotland's Iain Wardlaw - who four years ago was playing for Cleckheaton in the Bradford League - ran in and attempted a yorker. It ended up as a full toss on leg stump. Number 11 batsman Shapoor Zadran flicked it fine and began running. He looked back. He saw it go past the fine leg fielder and towards the boundary.

He stops running to score runs and begins running in celebration as the ball crosses the rope. Arms outstretched he sinks to his knees before laying on the ground. The joy etched on his face is there for all to see. Almost nine years to the day earlier, he'd taken 1-21 in the final of the ACC Middle East Cup as Afghanistan lost to Bahrain. Now here he was hitting the winning runs as his country recorded their first ever win at the Cricket World Cup.

There are other survivors from that defeat to Bahrain. Nawroz Mangal, Samiullah Shenwari, Mohammad Nabi, Asghar Stanikzai and Hamid Hassan all played in that match and in this World Cup win over Scotland. Zadran, Mangal, Nabi and Stanikzai all played in Afghanistan's first official international, a four wicket defeat to Oman in the 2004 ACC Trophy. Mangal goes back even further having played in their first recorded match - a 6 wicket defeat to Peshawar Under-19s back in 2001, a match played as US troops began entering Afghanistan.

In a little over a decade Afghanistan have gone from a rag tag bunch of amateurs from a war torn country with no cricket tradition to a professional team that has won a match at the World Cup. It is a fantastic story. One which only the most stone hearted people are unable to take inspiration from.

Cricket has taken root in the country. They have domestic tournaments involving four-day cricket, one-day cricket and T20 cricket. Matches are attended by thousands of people and followed by many more on TV. Politicians watch cricket matches. Even the Taliban congratulates Afghanistan when they win.

This is a victory for Afghanistan. It is also a victory for the ICC Development Programme.

The ICC - quite rightly - comes in for a lot of criticism over the way they treat their associate and affiliate members. They are very much second class citizens as far as those in power are concerned. However there are some good people at the ICC. People who want cricket to become a truly global sport. People who see the growth of teams like Afghanistan as a positive, not as a threat to the established order. People who go around the world providing coaching for kids and adults alike. People who introduce the great sport of cricket to so many new individuals. People who achieve so much with what is, compared to the overall ICC income, an almost shoestring budget.

These aren't the people behind the 10 team World Cup. These aren't the people who look at the joy on Shapoor Zadran's face thinking "this must be stopped". These aren't the people who claim that a promotion/relegation system that prevents 10 teams from ever being relegated is meritocratic. They know what true meritocracy looks like, because they've implemented it in their tournaments.

This success hasn't just happened with Afghanistan. It's happened with Ireland, with Scotland, with Nepal, Hong Kong, Namibia, Papua New Guinea and many more.

But that success is under threat. The proportion of ICC funding allocated to the development programme has been cut. Whilst the top associates such as Ireland & Afghanistan may get more, the pathways that produced them are under threat. Regional tournaments are being culled, even more so for youth events than for senior events. The World Cricket League has lost two divisions. The ladder has been well and truly pulled up.

If the aim of the ICC Development Programme is to produce more teams at the top of the game, the 10 team World Cup, and the way qualification is structured, prevents that. Even if an associate makes it through the labyrinth like qualification process, they'll have had few matches - if any - between World Cups against the teams that they'll have to play nine times in the World Cup.

There are those who say that associates need games between World Cups more than games in World Cups. This isn't a zero sum thing - they need both. World Cup participation brings sponsorship and government funding more than any pointless one-off ODI could ever bring. Olympic participation would bring even more, but that's another story.

Before the World Cup started, Dave Richardson said that World Cups need to involve teams that are "competitive" and "evenly matched". This is clearly nonsense. There aren't 32 teams capable of winning the FIFA World Cup or 20 teams capable of winning the Rugby Union World Cup.

World Cups are festivals of their sport. They're about celebrating stories such as the rise of Afghanistan. Those in power at the ICC measure the success of a World Cup solely in financial gain, and short term gains at that. It is obvious to anyone with a modicum of intelligence that an expanded World Cup, with a greater variety of teams taking part, will lead to better financial gains in the long term than a retreat into an exclusive World Cup with the same teams and matches we see between World Cups.

The most heartening thing about this World Cup is the way the tide has turned against the ICC. Players - from both the associates and full members - have spoken out against the decision. Journalists and commentators have spoken out against it. Greats of the game such as Sachin Tendulkar have spoken out against it. His comments even came during an ICC organised web chat. The comments were then notable by their absence in the ICC press release that summarised it.

There are exceptions of course. Some people just have no long term vision. But they are very much a minority. The cricket world is in general united in its condemnation of the 10 team World Cup proposals. They may not always be aware of global development initiatives, but they are aware of the results - teams in World Cups - and they want it to continue. They may use pejorative terms such as "minnows", but their heart is very much in the right place. They may want to keep the secure position of full members - but let's take it one step at a time.

A petition against the 10 team World Cup is circulating. At the time of writing it has attracted over 11,000 signatures in under a week. Each exciting match involving associates - of which there have been more than those involving only full members - attracts more signatures. I'd certainly urge any readers who haven't already done so to sign it here.

The tide against the 10 team World Cup is turning. Cricket needs more teams to rise up. It needs more stories like that of Afghanistan. Ending the 10 team World Cup won't solve everything, but it would be a good start.

The story of the Afghanistan cricket team is one of the greatest stories in any sport, not just in cricket. The ending isn't written yet, but it might not be a happy one. We should enjoy their celebrations and their exuberance whilst we can. We may not see it again at a World Cup, and cricket would be the poorer for it.