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Afghanistan set for tough Pakistan test in Asia Cup opener

Wednesday, 26 February 2014 - 12:53pm IST | Agency: PTI
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It would be a trial by fire for Afghanistan when the gutsy team from the strife-torn country makes its Asia Cup debut by taking on defending champions Pakistan here tomorrow.

Mohammad Nabi's Afghanistan was brought into the Asia Cup after it qualified for the 50-over World Cup scheduled next year.

And they would look to make a good impression in front of their four sub-continental neighbours, namely India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The interest that they have managed to generate by their presence notwithstanding, Afghanistan are not expected to go too far in the tournament given that they have played just two one-dayers against Test nations, losing both matches to Pakistan and Australia.

That exposure also came way back in 2012 and it would be interesting to see how the minnows have grown since then.

What would count in their favour in the Asia Cup is the team's firm understanding of the local conditions given that eight from the current squad have participated in various domestic competitions here including the Bangladesh Premier League.

"Rahmat Shah, Azghar (Stanikzai), Gulbadin Naib, (Mohammad) Shahzad, Shapoor (Zadran), maybe half the team has played in Bangladesh and this is a good experience for them and for Afghanistan," said Nabi, himself a regular at the T20 event.

"We will try our best against every team. There is no target. We will play good cricket and when the time comes we will win," he added.

Whatever the end result, Afghanistan are expected to put their best foot forward on the field, making them exciting prospects at the regional mega-event.

Pakistan, on the other hand, would have to quickly shake off the disappointment of losing their tournament-opener against Sri Lanka. 




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