Nepal all but out of Super Six race, lose to Afghans by 6 wickets in a must-win game
- Khadka’s fluent innings in vain
- Nepal lose last five wickets for 15 runs
Mar 11, 2018-
Nepal’s ambitions of entering the Super Six of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers and earn one-day international status took a nosedive after they crashed to yet another defeat to Afghanistan in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe on Saturday.
At the Bulawayo Athletic Club, Paras Khadka once again proved why the team looks up to him at crunch situations as the skipper struck second consecutive half century before Nepal were folded for 194 all out in 49.5 overs. Afghanistan hardly looked trouble in their chase and cantered to victory in 38.4 overs for a six-wicket victory.
The big loss means winless Nepal are now left with only mathematical chance of making it to the Super Six. Nepal now need to beat Hong Kong in their last match on Monday by an improbable huge margin to go through at the expense of the Afghans and fellow Associates Hong Kong.
In another Group ‘A’ match on Saturday, Hong Kong lost to Zimbabwe by 89 runs and now stay at the third fourth spot in Group ‘B’. Afghanistan, whose World Cup ambitions looked all but over after losing three consecutive matches, can now fancy themselves a chance following Saturday’s results.
If Nepal defeat Hong Kong with a slim margin, Afghanistan can qualify for the tournament courtesy their positive net run rate. But a loss for Nepal on Monday would mean the new Test entrants have to wait for another four years to go into the World Cup. Zimbabwe have now joined already-qualified Scotland in the Super Six. The tournament provides ODI status to three highly-ranked Associate teams.
In the match on Saturday, Nepal opted to put regular opener Dilip Nath at bench and tried a new combination of Anil Sah and Gyanendra Malla following back to back failures in the opening department. However, the move hardly worked as Sah (seven) lost his wicket in fourth over.
Khadka came in and in his usual aggressive intent played some blistering strokes forging a 92-run partnership for the second wicket with Malla. Opener Malla was a calm ally hitting two fours in his 69-ball 23 before world No 1 ODI bowler Rashid Khan trapped him leg before wicket.
Nepal were shell-shocked after Khadka lost his wicket to former Afghan skipper Mohammad Nabi holing out a catch at long on to Samiullah Shenwari. Khadka, who had made 63 against Scotland, made 75 from 82 balls with 10 boundaries and a six. The momentum lost after the fall of Khadka as Nepal soon lost Rohit Kumar Paudel (one).
Dipendra Singh Airee played some big shots scoring freely against Afghani spinners striking three fours and a six but Khan left him undone for a 41-ball 32. With Aarif Sheikh (23) and Sompal Kami (nine) set at the crease, Nepal could have still managed to put some challenging total but they went on to lose their last five wickets for just 15 runs.
Man-of-the-match Nabi took 4-33 from 10 overs, while Khan returned 3-45. Seamer Shapoor Zadran picked up 2-32 from eight overs.
Khan, now the youngest skipper in world cricket at 19, rang surprise when he came to open the innings and struck three consecutive fours off Karan KC in the fourth over. KC got rid of Khan (21) in his next over. Another opener Javed Ahmadi (26) and Rahmat Shah defied Nepali attack with a 65-run second wicket partnership.
Leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane removed Ahmadi with a return catch and Airee bowled Shah for 46.
Nabi and Najibullah Zadran rebuilt the innings before Airee reignited Nepal’s slim hopes removing the allrounder for 34 reducing Afghanistan to 150-4 in 34 overs. However, Najibullah hit Regmi for 18 runs in the 36th over as Afghans raced to victory. Najibullah struck four boundaries and three sixes in his unbeaten 51 off 47 balls.
Team M W L NR Pts NRR
West Indies 3 3 0 0 6 1.380
Ireland 3 2 1 0 4 0.334
UAE 3 2 1 0 4 0.224
Netherlands 3 1 2 0 2 -0.445
PNG 4 0 4 0 0 -0.865
Zimbabwe 3 3 0 0 6 1.380
Scotland 3 3 0 0 6 1.160
Afghanistan 4 1 3 0 2 0.038
Hong Kong 3 1 2 0 2 -1.246
Nepal 3 0 3 0 0 -1.546
Afghanistan 195-4 in 38.4 overs (N Zadran 52, R Shah 46; DS Airee 2-25, K KC 1-25) beat Nepal 194 all out in 49.5 overs (P Khadka 75, DS Airee 32; M Nabi 4-33, R Khan 3-45) by six wickets
Man-of-the-match: M Nabi (AFG)
Published: 11-03-2018 10:08