Sharjah, Oct 3: Afghanistan are just one win away from direct qualification to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 after defeating Kenya by eight wickets in the first of their two ODIs in the crucial, final round of the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Championship at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday (October 2).
Hamid Hassan returned match figures of four for 19 as Kenya, opting to bat first, was bowled out for 89 in 37.5 overs. In turn, Nawroz Mangal belted three fours and four sixes in a 60-ball 52, and Mohammad Shahzad scored a 41-ball 33 as Afghanistan achieved victory for the loss of two wickets inside 18 overs. The two openers put on 79 runs for the first wicket in just over 16 overs.
The win moves Afghanistan to within striking distance of the crucial second spot in the competition, only one point behind the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Netherlands.
The second and final ODI will be played on Friday, also at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. If Afghanistan win that match, it will climb to 19 points, secure second position behind Ireland and qualify for its maiden ICC Cricket World Cup.
However, should Afghanistan lose Friday's ODI, the last match of the competition, second-ranked UAE will retain their position and qualify for its first ICC Cricket World Cup since 1996.
Kenya 89 all out in 37.5 overs (Morris Ouma 24, Ragheb Aga 18; Hamid Hassan 4/19, Samiullah Shinwari 2/14, Shahpur Zadran 2/16) lost to Afghanistan 95/2 in 17.5 overs (Nawroz Mangal 52 not out, Mohammad Shahzad 33; Hiren Varaiya 2/12)