Thursday, March 20, 2014

Nepal secure thrilling 9-run victory over Afghanistan

Subash Khakurel scored a half-century as Nepal has posted a competitive target of 142 runs against Afghanistan in their last and final preliminary round match of the ICC World Twenty20.

Khakurel smashed four boundaries and a six for his 56 off 53 balls.

Fielding an unchanged side which lost to Bangladesh on Tuesday, Nepal made a slow start to the game scoring just 19 runs in four overs. Afghanistan found the early breakthrough when Sagar Pun was caught while trying a big hit but ended up giving a simple catch to Mohammad Nabi.

Gyanendra Malla scored a quickfire 22 from 13 balls but gifted his wicket just when he was looking dangerous to Afghan bowlers. Malla attempted a reverse-sweep but, instead, got a top edge and was caught by Nawroz Mangal. In-form Skipper Paras Khadka was bowled for just one run after he completely missed a Mirwais Ashraf's delivery which rattled his off stump.

However, Khakurel and Sharad Bheswakar (37 off 32) stepped in and steered the Nepali inning with a solid 76-run partnership. Their partnership finally came to an end when Khakurel was caught off Shapoor Zadran's delivery in the 19th over. Bheswakar too was caught in the same over off Zadran's delivery when he top edged and ended in the gloves of wicket keeper Mohammad Shahzad. Nepal finished on 141 for the loss of five wickets.

Nepal had comfortably won their first match against Hong Kong by 80 runs but struggled against Bangladesh going down by eight wickets.

Nepal will look to end their six-match losing streak against Afghanistan , who have got the better of Nepal in all the Twenty20 contests they have played since the 2007.

Nepal's hope of making it to the Super 10 is very slim as simply a victory against Afghanistan will not confirm their place in the Super 10. Nepal will have to wait for the match between Hong Kong and Bangladesh and hope that Hong Kong will defeat Bangladesh which looks highly unlikely given the recent performance of the Bangladeshi side.

source: the kathmandu post,20 march 2014