Nepal kept their slim hopes of making it to the ACC Asia Cup alive with a four-wicket win over Singapore at the UKM-YSD Cricket Oval ground in Bangi, Malaysia, on Sunday.
Electing to bat first, Singapore battled to 151 all out in 42 overs and Nepal cantered to victory for the loss of six wickets in just 28.1 overs in their bid to improve net run-rate. The second win comes a day after Nepal beat Malaysia by 19 runs. They had opened the qualifying tournament with back-to-back defeats against Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
With the last round of matches to go, Oman lead the six-team standings with seven points from four matches. The UAE stay in second with six points followed by Hong Kong in third with five and Nepal in fourth with four points. Only the champions of the Qualifier will join world cricketing powerhouses India and Pakistan in Group ‘A’ of Asia Cup scheduled for September 16-28 in the UAE.
Nepal now need to beat Hong Kong by heavy margin and hope the UAE too lose heavily against Oman on Tuesday to have any chances to claiming the second position. If that happens and Nepal pip the UAE to second spot, they will have a shot at the title against the table-topper and claim a Asia Cup berth.
On Sunday, Nepal pace spearhead Sompal Kami and Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi combined to take three top-order batsmen and derail the Singaporean innings. But the 80-run stand for the fourth wicket between skipper Chetan Ramchandra Suryawanshi and Anish Edward Paraam resurrected the Singapore innings. Apart from the two only Karthikeyan Subramanian (20) was able to score in double figures against the disciplined Nepali bowling.
Suryawanshi top scored with 60, his patient 88-ball knock included eight fours and a six. Paraam scored 67-ball 31. Man-of-the-match Rajbanshi took 3-27 and Sandeep Lamichhane returned with 3-35. Kami also took two and Basanta Regmi one wicket for Nepal.
Nepal needed not just the victory but also improve on their net run rate over the second-placed UAE and they did exactly that. But in the process lost six wickets before finally overcoming the target in the 29th over. Anil Kumar Sah and Sharad Khakurel gave a flying start to their chase putting on 56 runs for the first wicket. While Khakurel took his time to score his 14, Sah scored freely hitting five boundaries and two sixes in his 32-ball 43.
For the third time in the tournament skipper Paras Khadka failed to contribute significantly as he was out for 11. But his deputy Gyanendra Malla, who was dropped to No 4 from the opening position, chipped in 29 while Dipendra Singh Airee slammed 34-ball 33. Selladore Vijayakumar and Anantha Krishna claimed two wickets each for Singapore.
Team M W L NR Pts NRR
Oman 4 3 0 1 7 0.92
UAE 4 3 1 0 6 1.58
Hong Kong 4 2 1 1 5 1.57
Nepal 4 2 2 0 4 0.17
Malaysia 4 1 3 0 2 -1.06
Singapore 4 0 4 0 0 -2.95
Nepal 152-6 in 28.1 overs (A Sah 43, DS Airee 33; S Vijayakumar 2-33, A Krishna 2-33) beat Singapore 151 in 42 overs (C Suryawanshi 60, A Paraam 31; LN Rajbanshi 3-27, S Lamichhane 3-35, S Kami 2-29) by four wickets
Man-of-the-match: LN RajbanshiPublished: 2018-09-03 08:49:01