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Afghans make waves with T20 win in Pak

September 07, 2010 12:26 IST
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Flag-waving and rifle shots greeted Afghanistan's Twenty20 tournament victory in Pakistan on Monday.

Afghanis danced to their traditional drum beat music to celebrate a famous win in Karachi in their debut at one of the most prestigious events on the T20 night circuit.

"It is a great feeling to win in Pakistan against a strong team," key player Asghar Stanikzai told Reuters.

"You look at the support we have had and perhaps it is time other cricket playing nations took our cricket seriously."

A 61-run win against a team that included Pakistan stars Imran Nazir and Rana Naved underlined Afghanistan's emergence as a serious cricket playing nation.

The support for the Afghans was infectious with thousands of Afghani immigrants including young girls and children who live in Karachi supporting their team every night of the tournament.

On the final night, they jubilantly waved their national flags while the more adventurous didn't hesitate to fire bullets into the air to celebrate a six or a wicket.

Even the heavy presence of security personal at the venue failed to dampen the spirits of the Afghanis with thousands more fans waiting outside to get in as the police and paramilitary rangers struggled to prevent any crowd surges.

Young pace bowler Hamid Hassan brought the stadium to its feet by taking three wickets in one over to highlight the cricket talent in the war-torn country.

Abdullah Noor, who was forced to seek refuge in Pakistan after the Soviet invasion came to Karachi in the 1980s and works as a cloth merchant, said cricket had been a big unifying force.

"When our cricketers play anywhere in the world, Afghanis, whether they are refugee or immigrants are united. After soccer cricket is our new passion," he said flanked by his children

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