Nepal has clinched the ICC World T20 match against arch-rival Afghanistan in a nail biting finish Thursday, as it waits for Hong Kong to defeat Bangladesh in this evening so as to qualify to the next round.
As Afghanistan chose to field first after winning the toss, Nepal posted a target of 142 runs with the loss of five wickets in the first inning held at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong, Bangladesh today.
Opener Subash Khakurel made a half-century scoring 56 runs, the highest score so far by any Nepal’s batsman in this tournament. Similarly, Sharad Vesawkar contributed 37 runs, while Gyanendra Malla scored 22 runs. Shapoor Zadran claimed two wickets for Afghanistan.
In reply, Afghanistan could chase up to 132 runs losing their eight wickets in the allotted 20 overs. Jitendra Mukhiya grabbed three wickets, while Sompal Kami and Shakti gauchan took two wickets each. Mukhiya was declared Man of the Match.
Afghanistan’s Asghar Stanikzai’s 49 runs and Shafiqullah’s 36 runs contribution to their team went in vain after the defeat.
Afghanistan needed 24 runs in the nail biting last over that included 6 balls. They hit two fours in the first two balls. The third ball went for two runs. The fourth ball went for a 4. In the final 2 balls, they needed 10 runs. In the 5th ball, their player was caught and bowled out. In the last ball delivery, they still needed 10 runs, but they could not manage a single run. Sompal Kami bowled the last over for Nepal.
“We have worked hard to come up to this stage.” said captain Paras Khadka after the match. He praised opponent Afghanistan as a good team.
In the match table, Bangladesh is at top at present. If Bangladesh wins against Hong Kong in its last group match, Nepal will crash out of the tournament today. If Nepal has to qualify to the next round, Hong Kong needs to defeat Bangladesh and Nepal’s run rate has to be better than that of Bangladesh. The Hong Kong vs Bangladesh match was scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Nepalese time.
So far, Nepal has made an impressive debut in the tournament. Nepal defeated Hong Kong by 80 runs in its inaugural match of the World Cup but lost to Bangladesh by eight wickets. Afghanistan had also lost against Bangladesh by nine wickets and won over Hong Kong by seven wickets.
In their last encounter during the World T20 Qualifiers 2013 held in the UAE last November, Nepal had lost to Afghanistan.