Ireland and Afghanistan qualify for ICC World Twenty20

Mon, Feb 15, 2010 1:54 PM

Ireland and Afghanistan have completed the line-up for the ICC World Twenty20 2010 which will take place in the West Indies from 30 April to 16 May.

The qualifying tournament, which has been taking place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this week, has resulted in Ireland and Afghanistan both making their way to the Caribbean to join the 10 Full Members in the 17-day festival of thrill-a-minute cricket.

For Afghanistan it will be the first time it has made it to the finals of a major ICC tournament and to qualify winners; just highlights their remarkable journey. Ireland is a much more familiar name having competed in the most recent ICC World Twenty20 in England and also in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007, the last time a global ICC event took place on the Caribbean's shores. The West Indies will hold many pleasant memories for Ireland fans as their team made it to the Super Eight stage in that event three years ago.

Earlier, in what were essentially semi-finals, Afghanistan overcame the challenge of the UAE in a thrilling finish by four wickets with just three balls to spare and in the second match Ireland beat the Netherlands by 65 runs.

Once his side had secured qualification Ireland captain and ICC Associate Player of the Year 2009 William Porterfield could not hide his delight.

"It's great for us and the lads are on a bit of a high. I think we showed some great character to fight back after losing the first game of the tournament (against Afghanistan)." he said.

"We obviously talked about who we thought would qualify at the beginning of the tournament and who the main competitors were and Afghanistan have played great cricket throughout the tournament and fair play to them, I am happy for Afghanistan.

"It's obviously great to be getting back out to the West Indies, the people are great out there, they love their cricket and it's a great atmosphere when you're out there playing cricket. We had great support out there the last time which helped as it was our first major global event and we now looking forward to getting back out there and getting the same kind of support."

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat, who presented the trophy to the winning captain, congratulated both teams on their qualification for the ICC World Twenty20.

"It is a great achievement for these teams to make it through to the West Indies, the quality of cricket on display this week has been very high and the competition fierce so Afghanistan and Ireland can rightly feel proud of themselves tonight" he said.

"For Ireland this will be another opportunity to show the world what they can do in an ICC global event while for Afghanistan it will be an adventure into the unknown. Judging by what I have seen during this tournament, they will give some of the Full Members more than a few awkward moments during the event" he concluded.

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