Asghar Stanikzai, the Afghanistan captain, chose to bat in his team’s Super 10 opener against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, India, on Thursday evening and steered his team to 153/7 in 20 overs in the ICC WT20 match against defending champions Sri Lanka.
Stanikzai played a crucial innings of 62.
Earlier the Afghan captain chose to bat after winning the toss.
Speaking after the first half, Stanikzai said when asked about the target his team had set that “it is a fighting score.”
Asked whether he thought Afghanistan could win the match, the skipper said: “Inshallah. Hopefully we will win this.”
This comes after Stanikzai joined the chorus of Associate voices calling for more opportunities to play against Full Members.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Stanikzai said the level of talent in Afghanistan was evident from their remarkable climb up the cricketing ladder over the last decade, and said the gap between Full Members and Associates would only narrow from more regular competition.
“You can’t make big comparisons between Afghanistan and other Associates,” Stanikzai said. “Many other Associates have been playing for the last 30 to 40 years, participating in World Cups and other events. But if you see Afghanistan’s history at the elite level, when we have only been playing for the last 6 to 7 years.
“In that time we have achieved what other nations couldn’t do in 30 to 40 years. It shows how much talent Afghanistan have to play at the elite level. Definitely we need more games against the Full Members, it can increase our experience in the game.”
Pointing to Afghanistan’s recent ODI and T20 series wins over Zimbabwe, both home and away, Stanikzai said his side had what it took to beat a Full Member side.
“If we play against other Associate countries, we will get experience from each other, but if you play with a Full Member, like we did against Zimbabwe in ODIs and T20s, you learn how to beat them. We now have that experience. As long as we play more games against Full Members, the distance between Associates and Full Members will reduce.”