Afghanistan's performance has been hailed as heart winning and gutsy by some commentators, while others sounded condescending by suggesting that the Afghans did not have much to lose, and that if they had succeeded in defeating India, it would have been a "major upset".
Although Afghanistan has played full members of the ICC only a handful of times, their success at the Associate level has not been a fluke. Afghanistan has defeated well-established Associate level teams such as Canada, Ireland, Kenya and Netherlands comfortably in the past.
In the absence of the team's star paceman Hamid Hassan who is recovering from a surgery, the team continues to put forward a dangerous bowling attack of seamers and spinners, who matched if not out performed their more experienced Indian peers in yesterday's game, and are well capable of putting pressure on any team of world class batsmen.
The team's batting line up is young and inexperienced, yet they have successfully chased formidable totals in associate level games. Batsmen like Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad, Karim Sadiq, and Nawroz Mangal demonstrated that they were not afraid of taking on world-class bowlers and hit them around the park. Afghanistan lost the game against India because of sloppy fielding and not because they were the less talented or professional team. Poor fielding, poor shot selection by batsmen and ineffective bowling or a combination of these can cost any experienced and successful team a game.
Afghanistan’s continued success is only matched by their sheer determination and love for the game. The team understands the expectations of millions of Afghans watching back home, but they have done a remarkable job of rebuilding a country's image shattered by war and poverty. It is about time that these condescending commentators get off the "nothing to lose" bandwagon and start taking Afghanistan seriously.