Today, India will face Afghanistan in a must-win match in the Super 12 stage of the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup in Abu Dhabi, with a lot on the line for both teams. However, the Afghanistan team's struggle is exceptional as they face the battle both on and off the field.
We are well aware of the current situation in Afghanistan. However, the official Aghnaistan team still owns their nationality on the fields. Recently, Afghanistan headed into the T20 World Cup amid political turmoil back home; when the national anthem was played in Sharjah before the match against Scotland, Mohammad Nabi's troops were seen in tears.
According to reports, Taliban government officials objected to such an emotional outburst and instructed the team to be matter-of-fact instead. Following the takeover, the Taliban reportedly replaced the former national flag and banned the national anthem.
Afghanistan defeated Scotland in their tournament opener before facing Pakistan in a game described as "one of the most exciting games in the World Cup" by Khaama Press News Agency.
Afghanistan's national cricket team is the ICC's 12th Test cricket-playing entire member nation. Cricket has been played in the country since the mid-nineteenth century, but the national team has only recently achieved some success at the international level. Afghanistan Cricket Board was established in 1995 and became an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council in 2001.
It is also claimed that this year Afghanistan team is sponsored only for ICC World Cup T20 by a group known as 'Sediki Grup' as the Taliban declined to support the team. One more shocker for Afghanistan people is that Afghan women, including the country's cricket team, will be barred from participating in sports under the new government.
Despite all the hardships the country is facing, the Afghanistan cricket team has their spirits high. With Mohammad Nabi breaking into tears during the national anthem ahead of a cricket match, one can only imagine how difficult it must be for all Afghanis to accept that their nationality, flag, and the national anthem will fade soon as the Taliban takes over the country.
Coming back to India vs Afghanistan match, India will play against Afghanistan in a game that they must win. However, India's chances of playing the semis look difficult as it now becomes a matter of fate and depends on a series of factors.
Stay tuned for the 33rd game of the T20 World Cup on Wednesday at the Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.