Afghanistan Wins Cricket World Cup Qualifying Tournament

Ireland left heartbroken as they lose tense clash against Afghanistan to miss out on the 2019 Cricket World Cup

They also beat the Windies in the warm-ups and also sprung a surprise on their maiden tour of the Caribbean a year ago when they captured the opening One-Day International in St Lucia.

Graham Ford's side had already suffered heavy reversals to West Indies and Zimbabwe but other results went their way, providing them with one final chance, only for Ireland to produce a feeble effort with the bat.

On behalf of Zimbabwe Cricket, I wish to express our sincerest gratitude to the thousands of Zimbabweans, young and old, for warmly embracing the game of cricket and making the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 a truly memorable experience. "We came here to achieve a target, and various boys put their hands up", said Windies skipper Jason Holder.

"I didn't watch the game but when it (defeat) happened I knew we were on a good thing and it's ours". "That is good for cricket, says a lot about world cricket and the standard of cricket".

"This is nothing but a miracle that we have won this tournament", added Stanikzai, whose team will also play their maiden Test match against India in Bangalore in June. We have the highest respect for them, but at the same time, we will not be overawed by them and will try to win tomorrow. Except once, I don't remember when any side chased down 250 plus against us, until Scotland did this in Bulawayo. I am still 50 per cent fit and yesterday was nearly on the verge of collapsing because the internal wounds are still fresh and have not healed properly. Thanks to them, my form is back in a crucial game.

The same jury had selected Zimbabwe's Sikandar Raza as the Player of the Tournament.

More news: Eight months for Tamimi

Ireland's 209/7 off 50 overs was never going to be enough and despite a spirited display with the ball, most notably from Simi Singh, Porterfield and his team-mates fell heartbreakingly short in Harare.

Simmons admitted he had all but given up hope on qualifying as he had not envisioned Zimbabwe losing to UAE.

"We're raring to beat Afghanistan", the in-form all-rounder said ahead of the contest at Harare Sports Club.

Chris Gayle got both Shahzad and Rahmat but Samiullah Shenwari (20*) and Mohammad Nabi (27*) eased them over the line.

Paul Stirling stitched decent stands of 53 and 44 with William Porterfield and Niall O'Brien, but the Ireland innings had almost screeched to a standstill through the middle-overs when Rashid and his band of spinners orchestrated the play.

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