AFGHANISTAN played out of their skin to beat the fancied India Under-23 team by 28 runs at Kallang on Thursday. But that was still not enough for them to qualify for the semi-finals of the Asian Cricket Council's Emerging Teams Cup, being played in Singapore.
Afghanistan had to bowl out India U-23s under 130, after scoring 184-7 in 50 overs, to pip Pakistan U-23s (net run rate +0.425) to a semi-final berth from Group A.
They did their best - keeping the India U-23s down to 118-7 in the 43rd over - before the side packed with Indian Premier League and first-class players totalled 156-9 in 50 overs.
In fact, four byes conceded off the last ball helped the Indian side (NRR +0.440) to top the group after all three sides finished on four points each. Afghanistan ended up third with an NRR of +0.177.
The India U-23s will play the United Arab Emirates in the first semi-final at Kallang on Friday, while the other semi-final will be fought between Pakistan U-23s and Sri Lanka U-23s at the Singapore Cricket Club ground.