Sports, Cricket

Win or lose, Afghans turn out to cheer cricket heroes

Published : 30 Oct 2021 07:32 PM | Updated : 02 Nov 2021 11:49 AM

Afghanistan's new Taliban government was very clear with cricket fans before Friday's much-anticipated clash with neighbours Pakistan.

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Celebrate the national team by all means, the interior ministry spokesman said, but: "If you win, you should not shoot in the air.

"If you shoot in the air, you will be severely punished," Qari Sayed Khosti tweeted.

In the end, despite a creditable Afghan batting performance, Pakistan won by five wickets.

And there was no sign of guns or shooting at the Habibullah Zazai Park, an amusement venue on a hill on the outskirts of east Kabul.

There, the thousand or so fans who gathered to watch the T20 World Cup match beamed from Dubai on a big screen, the mood was jubilant -- and realistic.

Under an illuminated Ferris wheel, they cheered as skipper Mohammad Nabi and all-rounder Gulbadin Naib's impressive batting partnership gave the Afghanistan side 147 for six.

During the day, the landscaped 90-acre park, with its food stands, "9D" cinema and kid's rides is a haven for families, away from Afghanistan's crises.