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Afghanistan win to keep WC dream alive

January 29, 2009 12:17 IST

Afghanistan ended Papua New Guinea's 100 percent record in their cricket World Cup qualifying group with an impressive eight-wicket win in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.

Uganda pulled off a sensational one-run victory over Hong Kong, leaving themselves, Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea level on six points with one round of matches to play on Friday.

"It is my dream to get my very poor country to the World Cup," said Afghanistan's stand-in captain and wicketkeeper Kharim Khan, who scored a 50 as his team made 94-2 in reply to Papua New Guinea's 93 all out.

"All of our people want to watch our country play in the tournament and watch the games live on television."

"I am very proud that I captained my country, took six catches and scored a fifty."

The war-torn country has made impressive progress since becoming International Cricket Council (ICC) affiliate members in 2001 despite the difficult conditions.

Karim struck his 50 off 43 balls, hitting eight fours, to wrap up the game after Hamid Hassan took 3-26 to help polish of Papua New Guinea's innings.

Roger Mukasa's 67 provided the foundation as Uganda made 180 all out although Hong Kong looked set for victory as they needed 21 runs off 27 balls with five wickets in hand.

Despite losing three wickets cheaply, Hong Kong still needed only three runs from the final over until Ronald Ssemanda bowled Zain Abbas then had Jamie Atkinson trapped lbw.

The top two teams in the six-team group -- known as ICC World Cricket League Division 3 -- qualify for a 12-team qualifying round in South Africa in April from where four teams will go into the 2011 World Cup.

Uganda face Argentina, Papua New Guinea meet Hong Kong and Afghanistan take on the Cayman Islands in Friday's decisive games.

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