Afghanistan gripped by nation's first cricket World Cup clash

Afghans watch the action on a television set at the roadside. Credit: Reuters

Despite only playing the sport for around 20 years, Afghanistan have made it to the World Cup, with their first game gripping the country.

Afghanistan played their opening match with Bangladesh in Canberra on Wednesday.

The Afghan bowling attack kept the Bangladeshis down to 267 all out from their 50 overs.

The occasionally sedate nature of cricket is a million miles away from their war-torn homeland, but those back in Afghanistan are

Back home fans in Kabul and elsewhere were following the game very closely, as the country enjoyed it's adopted sport.

Cricket came to Afghanistan thanks to refugees returning from Pakistan and was helped by the fact is was one of the few sports the Taliban allowed to be played.

Afghanistan quickly progressed through international cricket, moving from division five in world in 2008 to qualifying for its showpiece tournament in 2015.

Fans in Kabul watch the match in a cafe. Credit: Reuters
Afghanistan celebrate a wicket against Bangladesh. Credit: PA

Coach Andy Moles told the BBC: "But, what impressed me was their all-round passion and their desire to win games of cricket. Whoever they play against, they go on the field and believe they can win.

"They are on a great journey, making remarkable strides. I see a genuine growth, month by month."

Although Afghanistan aren't expected to run too many teams in the competition close, their continued rise against the odds has given the nation hope.