Afghans’ dramatic cricket win over Zim celebrated with gunfire

HEAVY gunfire rang out in celebration in Kabul after Afghanistan’s cricket team secured a last-gasp victory over Zimbabwe on Wednesday to win a one-day series in Sharjah.

With only three balls remaining, Gulbadin Naib hit a six to clinch a narrow win and prompt delirious scenes in the Afghan capital, where heavily-armed cricket fans fired automatic rifles into the air.

Security forces in Kabul have been on high alert since a string of suicide bomb attacks claimed by the Taliban over recent days and police had appealed to sports fans not to fire weapons to celebrate.

The teams went into the game level at 2-2 in the series and after a solid innings from Zimbabwe including a century by Hamilton Masakadza, it took a quickfire 82 from Gulbadin to lift Afghanistan to their target of 254.

Cricket has become increasingly popular in Afghanistan and the match was closely followed across the country, where sports fans were disappointed by losing the final of soccer’s South Asian Football Federation Championship to India on Sunday.

Afghanistan qualified for the 50-over cricket World Cup for the first time in last year’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

They beat Scotland but lost their other group matches to exit in the first round. – Reuters

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