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Cricket gives Afghans hope

After victory over Scotland, national team now faces tournament favorite Pakistan

KABUL -- On a balmy autumn day in west Kabul earlier this week, two contrasting realities of current-day Afghanistan were in play. Armed Taliban guards were using lengths of thick rubber hose and bamboo poles to control a crowd pressing at the gate to a compound where charity workers were handing out emergency food aid.

And on a strip of open ground alongside, a group of teenage boys were ranged around a pair of makeshift wickets, happily playing cricket. It is a sight you will see nationwide, because Afghans are cricket-mad.

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