Afghanistan have won the inaugural Desert T20 Challenge after thrashing Ireland in the final in Dubai.
Ireland had actually produced a thrashing of their own earlier in the day with a 98-run demolition job on their Scottish neighbours after amassing an intimidating 211-6 in the allotted 20 overs.
The Afghan Hounds chased down 149 to overhaul Oman in the other semi, thanks in the main to the lynchpin of their side, opening batsman Mohammad Shahzad, who struck 80 from 60 deliveries.
The Irish had clearly used up all their energy in the semi as come the final they were dismissed for a paltry 71 in just 13.2 overs. Afghanistan then romped to their crown with a ruthless ten-wicket victory, the effervescent Shahzad (52 not out) again leading the way.
Though a more evenly contested final would have been better, the tournament can surely be considered a great success for associate cricket and the global spread of the game and we’ll wait with baited breath to discover whether or not this will be an annual, bi-annual, tri-annual, quad-annual, pent-annual, you get the idea, arranged tournament.
Though this is a T20 tournament the result comes at a convenient time for Afghanistan as speculation mounts that they’ll soon put forward a bid for Test status. If they achieve such then it could be a bitter pill for the Irish to swallow, unless of course they too are granted Test status.
Dislcaimer: I can’t find any evidence of the Afghanistan cricket team actually being nicknamed the Afghan Hounds but I hope that it comes across as affectionate and is not in anyway meant in a derogatory way, not that I have any reason to think it would unless of course Afghan Hounds have a bad reputation and the Afghanistan cricket team don’t want to be named after dogs!