(Reuters) – Afghanistan’s remarkable 69-run win over defending champions England at the World Cup will give them the belief they can go toe-to-toe with cricket’s leading nations for years to come, coach Jonathan Trott said.
Afghanistan posted 284 after half centuries from Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ikram Alikhil, before bowling out England for 215 to claim just their second victory at a World Cup – eight years after their maiden win over Scotland in 2015.
“This is significant, certainly in the manner and by the margin as well,” Trott told reporters on Sunday.
“There’s a lot of confidence that will hopefully come from this when competing against the bigger nations and it’ll have a knock-on effect to all the other games, not only in this World Cup, but for the future as well.
“What Afghanistan cricket can achieve, hopefully this will be the sort of kick-start.”
After the win, spinner Rashid Khan said he hoped the victory would put a smile on the faces of people back in Afghanistan, where multiple earthquakes have killed around 1,000 and injured over 2,000.
Women’s sport in Afghanistan has also suffered since the Taliban returned to power in 2021.
“It’s not just cricket that the guys are playing for,” Trott said.
“The guys are very knowledgeable of the hardship that some people are going through because of the natural disaster and for various other reasons.
“If this can give a smile to people’s faces anywhere in the world, but also encourage boys and girls to pick up a cricket bat or a cricket ball and get playing wherever they are in Afghanistan, then that’s sort of the goal that’s been achieved.”
Afghanistan next face New Zealand in Chennai on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)