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T20 World Cup: Afghanistan and Ireland qualify

Dubai, Mar 24 (): With a 47-run win over Namibia, Afghanistan qualified for its second consecutive Twenty20 World Cup.

It’s the second time Afghanistan has reached the group stages of the tournament. In 2010 they lost to India and South Africa in the West Indies.

Afghanistan has qualified to challenge the best teams and players in the world this autumn in Sri Lanka in September 2012. Afghan cricketer Mohammad Nabi said, “This is the second time we have qualified for the ICC World T20 event and everyone at home is happy – we have made our nation proud and are very proud of our achievements! People have been calling me from UAE and in Afghanistan to tell me that they have been praying that we win – everyone is so happy that they have no words to express their joy,”

Nabi said Afghanistan is eyeing a tournament victory.

Ireland on Saturday became the second associate nation to qualify for the 2012 ICC World Twenty20. They beat Namibia by nine wickets in the 2nd qualifying final. Ireland, led by fast-medium bowlers Trent Johnston and Max Sorensen, restricted Namibia to 94 for six in 20 overs, and chased down the target in just 10.1 overs.

Ireland captain William Porterfield was thrilled at qualifying for yet another ICC global event.

“I think Namibia played well throughout the tournament. It was easy picking ourselves up after the defeat against Namibia in the first game because we lost by just four runs. “We came here with a goal of winning this tournament. The qualification has been achieved. We have done it the hard way but it is yet another great day for Irish sport. We just want to keep it going.”

The Afghans will play Ireland in the tournament final later on Saturday.

The winners will join Australia and the West Indies in Group B in Sri Lanka, while the losing finalists will complete Group A, which also includes defending champions England and 2007 winners India.

The Irish, who will join Afghanistan as the two sides make it through to qualify world T20 at Sri Lanka 2012.

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