Afghanistan continued their giant strides in worldwide cricket by qualifying for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in England with a thrilling five-wicket win against Ireland in the final Super Six encounter of qualifiers, here.
First, I wish to put it on record that Zimbabwe Cricket is disappointed and feels the pain of the fans and the entire nation following our national team's failure to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales.
This was West Indies' maiden appearance in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier after they failed to qualify directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 by finishing outside the top eight on the ICC ODI Team Rankings at the September 30, 2017 cut-off.
As the curtain came down on the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 this Sunday, it was a rollercoaster of emotions for us at Zimbabwe Cricket and, I believe, for all Zimbabweans.
Afghanistan's hopes appeared dead and buried when they played poorly in the preliminaries, winning just one of their four matches to squeeze into the Super Sixes.
Scotland and Zimbabwe also missed out in their final games, while the UAE were the other team in the Super Sixes to fail to qualify.
After Zimbabwe's shock loss to United Arab Emirates 24 hours earlier, the equation was simple for these two sides - win, and a place at next year's finals in England and Wales would be secure.
The West Indies, batting first, were limited to 198 and got away to a good start in the field before Scotland rallied to 125 for five off 35.2 overs when the heavens opened up. On a head to head, Afghanistan lead the Windies 2-1, while their one match in St Lucia was a no-result.
"I am in too much pain but I was playing for the country". Obviously ourselves and Afghanistan got elevated, which we're grateful for, but we need to keep getting funding in to improve facilities, get those extra fixtures.
"This trophy is a painful reminder of the dreams we had. That is good for cricket, says a lot about world cricket and the standard of cricket".
Now Simmons is heading back to the ICC World Cup but this time with Afghanistan and said he would be working on a few surprises with his Asian outfit over the next few months in preparation for the 50-overs showpiece next year.
Scotland, the defending ICC Qualifying Round victor, did well to restrict the West Indies to 198, built around solid knocks of 66 and 51 by Ewin Lewis and Marlon Samuels, respectively. I am, however, confident they will pick up the pieces, continue working harder and try to make it right. "They deserve it", Stanikzai said through an interpreter.
Afghanistan: Asghar Stanikzai (captain), Dawlat Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Ihsanullah Janat, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad, Nasir Jamal, Javed Ahmadi, Mujeeb Rahman, Najibullah Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Rashid Khan, Samiullah Shenwari, Shahpoor Zadran and Sharafuddin Ashraf.
Rovman Powell top-scored with 44 off 75 balls.