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World Cup dream now reality for Afghanistan

Afghanistan have taken a further step in a remarkable rise by qualifying for their first World Cup courtesy of a crushing win over Kenya.

They only became an International Cricket Council affiliate member in 2001 and were granted associate status this year on the back of successive appearances at the World Twenty20.

But a place at the 50-over showpiece, to be staged by Australia and New Zealand in 2015, is a new high for the nation. And they secured it in emphatic fashion with a seven-wicket success in Sharjah.

There were still 29.1 overs remaining when Mohammad Nabi hit the winning runs to reel in a meagre target of 94.

Victory was built around a superb bowling performance, with Kenya rolled for 93.

Morris Ouma made 39 of those runs in a 61-ball stay and Rakep Patel, with 18, was the only other player to reach double figures.

Hamza Hotak claimed 3-19, with Nabi, Karim Sadiq and Hamid Hassan taking two cheap wickets apiece.

Mohammad Shahzad fell for one in the second over of Afghanistan's reply and when Shem Ngoche removed Nawroz Mangal, for 19, and Asghar Stanikzai in the same over Kenya had half a chance to make it competitive.

But Nabi ensured that quickly passed, hitting 46 not out in 42 balls with three fours and two sixes.

The result also extinguished the United Arab Emirates' hopes of an automatic place at the World Cup.

Afghanistan have been placed in Group A for the tournament, where they will meet England, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and both host nations. A final qualifier will also join the group.

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