Page last updated at 17:31 GMT, Friday, 1 May 2009 18:31 UK

Village cricketers lose in Kabul

Ditchling CC play an Afghan XI
The two teams first played at Ditchling Cricket Club in Sussex in 2006

A Sussex village cricket team which was invited to play the Afghan national side in Kabul has lost by 125 runs.

The Afghan team scored 262 for 5, with Ditchling Cricket Club managing 138 for 7 in reply, in the one-day match at a playing field in the Afghan capital.

The two teams first met each other when Ditchling Cricket Club hosted the Afghanistan side during their June 2006 tour of England.

Ditchling lost that match, the club's first game with an international team.

Ditchling Cricket Club's captain, the former children's television presenter Jamie Theakston, said: "We play some pretty tough away games in our league down in Sussex but I think this is probably the toughest yet."

Silver trophy

The Afghan team member and former coach, Taj Malik, said: "This is the first time that a team from outside has come to Afghanistan to play an Afghan sports team."

British Ambassador Mark Sedwill congratulated the teams and their sponsors and said: "Nobody underestimates the challenges that this country faces, but there is another Afghanistan.

"This showed what people can achieve if people follow their dreams," he added.

The Kabul Cup, a silver trophy commissioned from a Ditchling silversmith, was awarded to the Afghan side after the match.

The Afghan national team missed qualifying for the Cricket World Cup finals by one place at a tournament in South Africa in April but gained one-day international status for the next four years.

Cricket became popular in Afghanistan during the 1990s as Afghan refugees returned home from camps in Pakistan.

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The Ditchling team lost the match in Kabul by 125 runs



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