Afghanistan played its ninth and final game of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 today (Friday), losing to South Africa by five wickets in Ahmedabad, Gujarat to claim the sixth spot so far.
Playing in only its third ODI World Cup, Afghanistan was inches away from making history by claiming a spot in the semi-finals of the tournament, having beaten three former world champions, Pakistan, England, and Sri Lanka.
Team Afghanistan ended the journey with four wins -- against England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Netherlands -- but lost to Australia, Bangladesh, South Africa, India, and New Zealand.
Some close losses and exceptional performances by Afghanistan amazed cricket analysts, who said that the team was no longer an underdog in the World Cup but a tough competitor.
The 23-year-old fast-bowling all-rounder, Azmatullah Omarzai was believed to be the best find in this World Cup not only for Afghanistan but for the world of cricket.
In his nine matches in the World Cup, he scored 353 runs with the bat and took seven wickets with the bowling.
Another young batter, Ibrahim Zadran, became the first Afghan player ever to score a World Cup century. It came against four-time world champion Australia.
The biggest achievement of all was that Afghanistan managed to qualify for the Champions Trophy 2025 for the first time ever.