Afghanistan enter top 10 in ODI cricket rankings

Sharjah, Dec 28 (IANS) The Afghanistan cricket team cruised into the top 10 in the International Cricket Council One-Day International (ODI) rankings for the first time after a thumping 49-run win in their first match against Zimbabwe here.

The key architects of the win were opener Noor Ali Zadran and left-arm spinner Amir Hamza, who made 63 and took four wickets, respectively, as Afghanistan successfully defended the lowest total – 131 – for an associate against a full member, espncricinfo reported on Sunday.

Afghanistan will have an opportunity to remain at the tenth position should they win the five-match series against Zimbabwe. A series loss, however, means they will return to their original World no.12 ranking, behind Zimbabwe and Ireland.

The year 2015 has been a watershed year of sorts for Afghanistan, who made their maiden World Cup appearance in Australia in February-March, where they beat Scotland by one wicket.

They built on that success by registering their first bilateral series win over a Test nation when they beat Zimbabwe 3-2 in a five-match series in Bulawayo in October. Interestingly, they came back from one match down to win the series, which made them the first associate to topple a full member in a bilateral series.

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