Cricket World Cup 2023 AFG vs SL | The Afghanistan faithful have the time of their lives!!!

Unbounded joy: Afghanistan fans celebrating their side’s victory against Sri Lanka. 

Unbounded joy: Afghanistan fans celebrating their side’s victory against Sri Lanka. 
| Photo Credit: VEDHAN M

As Afghanistan outmuscled Sri Lanka to a convincing seven-wicket win in the ODI World Cup at the MCA Stadium in Pune on Monday, a smattering of Afghan fans in the stands were dancing in joy. To be fair, they have been on it for a while.

Comprising mostly of Pune-based students, these fans were relishing yet another praise-worthy performance from their side as it put itself in the fray for a semifinal finish.

Clad in their native flags, the Afghan fans were egged on by a well-prepared stadium DJ, who whipped out Afghani songs frequently.

Nostalgia

“These are songs from our childhood. It reminds us of our homeland. How can we not dance to it,” said Iqbal, an Afghan student from Pune University.

The exuberance of the Afghan fans soon rubbed onto the local crowd, who slowly began to align themselves with Hashmatullah Shahidi’s side and celebrated its exploits as if it was their own team.

After a tough initiation into World Cup cricket – it won only one game in the 2015 and 2019 editions combined – Afghanistan has come alive this time, securing historic wins over defending champion England and Pakistan, before its Lankan conquest.

For most of the Afghan fans, this was the first opportunity to see their beloved team in flesh and blood and the timing couldn’t have been better.

Belief

“We are really happy with the side’s performance. We believe we are going to the semifinal. Our bowlers are amazing and our batting is also not bad. We have a good chance,” said Iqbal.

“Almost all of us used to play cricket in Afghanistan. Here also we play with our friends. It is one of the few things which helps us stay connected to our home,” added Iqbal.

A few Afghan fans also drew the attention of the crowd due to their dapper appearance. Hasan Anwari, another Pune University student, was constantly fielding selfie requests from Indian fans.

“The love that the Afghanistan team and fans have received from India during the World Cup is incredible. It makes us feel more at home here,” said Hasan.

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