In a tournament that’s been largely deprived of thrilling finishes, the Men’s World Cup has thrown up many surprising results, with Afghanistan, Netherlands and Sri Lanka leading the pack. Muttiah Muralitharan, the legendary spinner, has insisted the smaller nations have proven their worth at the World Cup.
“Netherlands is the only one without Test status this time around. Afghanistan, with the talent they have, they can win the World Cup. That kind of a side they have, so that is not a surprise for anyone,” Muralitharan, who is an ICC brand ambassador for its social cause with Unicef, said here on Sunday.
“But the surprise was Netherlands because beating big teams in conditions much different than they are used to is creditable. They play in bouncy tracks and seaming, swinging tracks. Here it becomes a little flat and still beating the bigger sides, it means something special. I would like to say that if you can add more associate nations, it will be great for the tournament.”
Muralitharan, a member of the 1996 World Cup-winning outfit, was in awe of Afghanistan and billed them a dark horse halfway into the tournament.
“They have one of the best bowling attacks, four spinners are unbelievable spinners because they are different. Farooqi and the fast bowlers are also very skilled and they have been picked in IPL teams,” Muralitharan said.
“Batting-wise they have a powerful batting line-up because they just play very attacking cricket. That’s the style that we played in 1996 when we won the World Cup.”
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