Rain spoils Afghanistan’s big day at Lord’s

LONDON, (Reuters) – Afghanistan were given a traditional British welcome as their first-ever appearance at Lord’s was cut short by rain in a one-day match against a Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) XI yesterday.

The star-studded MCC side managed 217-6 from a rain-affected 40 overs, setting the tourists 227 to win from their 50 overs.

However, the covers came on for the final time five overs into the reply, with Afghanistan 31-1, meaning no result could be reached.

The MCC has been very supportive of Afghan cricket, not least through the charity Afghan Connection.

Through this joint initiative, 100 cricket pitches have been built all around Afghanistan for children, with many cricket camps held around the country.

“Afghans love cricket so much,” said Sarah Fane, founder and CEO of Afghan Connection sadin in a news release. “But they hardly had any equipment. So Afghan Connection made a delivery to the national team and began supporting grassroots cricket around the country for the young.

“Within a year MCC began backing Afghan cricket through Afghan Connection’s projects. Since 2009 this has led to 100cricket pitches being built, serving well over 100,000 Afghan children, as well as provision of equipment and coaching for them.”

The match represented a landmark occasion for Afghanistan, less than a month after they were granted international test status, but the weather put a dampener on events in London.

The MCC side were captained by Brendon McCullum, the former New Zealand skipper, but he could only muster five runs, before being caught behind as the home team struggled at the start.

Former Pakistan batsman Misbah-ul-Haq also fell early, caught behind on seven, before a stand of 150 for the third wicket between Sam Hain and Nottinghamshire’s Samit Patel ensured the hosts could post a respectable score.

Noor Ali Zadran was the only Afghan wicket to fall in their five overs, before the heavens opened once more, this time bringing an end to the match as rain stopped play.

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