Afghan captain hails historic win
Afghanistan cricket captain Mohammad Nabi celebrates after taking the final wicket of Bangladesh cricketer Rubel Hossain in the Asia Cup game between Bangladesh and Afghanistan in Fatullah, on the outskirts of Dhaka on March 1, 2014 - by Munir uz Zaman
Nabi added that President Hamid Karzai had called to congratulate the fledging team on their shock 32-run win against the hosts in Fatullah on Saturday.
Afghanistan bowled out Bangladesh for 222 in 47.5 overs for their first win in only four matches against a Test-playing nation.
"We have shown the world we belong to top-level cricket," Nabi told AFP. "This win will help a great deal in lifting the game in Afghanistan."
Nabi was one of the stars of the match, taking three wickets for only 44 runs.
Asghar Stanikzai hit a career best 90 not out and Samiullah Shinwari smashed a 69-ball 81 to steer Afghanistan to 254-6 in their 50 overs.
Afghanistan, playing in the Asia Cup for the first time, lost two previous one-day outings against Pakistan -- including one in this tournament.
Their third loss against a Test side came at the hands of Australia in Sharjah in 2012.
"Soon after we won we received a call from President Hamid Karzai which was great and he encouraged us and congratulated us on this historic win," Nabi said.
The captain added that the victory will give the players confidence going into their next match against Sri Lanka who have won both their games at this year's Asia Cup, over Pakistan and India.
"We want to keep the same momentum and will try our best to match the performances we gave against Bangladesh," Nabi said of the match on Monday.
Intriguingly, Afghanistan will play their opening match in next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand against Bangladesh -- a prospect Nabi is relishing.
"We are not thinking that far, but yes we will give our best here and prepare well for the mega event."
Afghanistan, racked by a years-long war and a Taliban insurgency, is on the rise as a cricketing nation.
Last year, they earned their maiden qualification for the 50-over World Cup and they will also take part in next month's World Twenty20 in Bangladesh for the third time.
"Our team is progressing well and a win like we achieved against Bangladesh is a big morale booster and it will help more and more youngsters to take up the game, which is already the number one sport in the country," team manager Shafiqullah Stanikzai said.
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