KATHMANDU: Afghanistan retained the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) T20 Cup 2013 title, defeating host Nepal by seven wickets, much to the disappointment of an overwhelming home crowd at TU cricket ground, Kirtipur, on Wednesday.
Chasing a 136-run target, Afghanistan touched the victory mark in 17.5 overs for the loss of three wickets. Man of the match Gulbadin Naib was the highest Afghan scorer with an unbeaten 43 off 42 balls that also included a four and a six.
Skipper Mohammad Nabi, 38 off 24 balls with six boundaries, was the other batsman not out. Karim Sadiq made a fluent 32 off 29 balls, hitting five fours and a six, while Najibullah Zadran and Samuillah Shenwari contributed 15 and nine respectively.
Nepal´s Shakti Gauchan and Paras Khadka took a wicket apiece. One Afghan player was run out. Earlier, skipper Paras Khadka played a captain´s knock, while hitting a composed half century as Nepal posted a mediocre target of 136.
Invited to bat first, Nepal had a shaky start, losing both its opener Pradeep Airee (1) and Subash Khakurel (10) with just 17 runs on board inside third over. Nepali batting suffered further setback when it lost Gyanendra Malla (10) in the next over.
It was the 71-run third wicket partenership between captain Khadka and Binod Bhadari that actually brought the Nepali innings back on track. Khadka made a solid 50 off 40 balls including four boundaries and two sixes before he finally ran himself out in 18th over.
Bhandari scored 32 off 39 balls, including three fours and a six. Sharad Vesawkar (20 not out), who joined the crease after Bhadari was out, was involved in the late innings assault, smacking three straight boundaries in the last over that cost 17 runs. Prithu Baskota made two runs before he was run out, where as Basanta Regmi remained not out on nought. Gulbadin Naib took two wickets whereas Shapoor Zadran and Hamza Hotak claimed one wicket each. Nepali skipper Khadka was adjudged man of the series.
UAE beat Hong Kong
The UAE lads defeated Hong Kong by 32 runs to seize the third position in the Asian Cricket Council Twenty20 Cup Group ‘A’ match played at Pulchowk Engineering Campus Ground, Lalitpur on Wednesday.
UAE batted first and posted a huge total of 166 runs losing seven wickets in their allotted 20 overs.
They had a shaky start losing first wicket with just eight runs on the board. Once, UAE were on a miserable condition when their middle order batsmen failed to impress.
At one point UAE were four wickets down with only 25 runs on the score sheet. Swapnil Patil anchored the innings with superb 43 runs of 34 balls. Later on Amjad Javed cut loose on the Hong Kong bowlers to score 51 runs off just 25 balls which included two 4s and four 6s.
Javed was well supported by Mohammad Azam who hit 30 runs to guide the team to a mammoth total of 166 losing seven wickets in their allotted 20 overs.
When Hong Kong resumed their batting, they had a good start at the onset putting 28 runs partnership in 3.1 overs. Only the opening duo, Waqas Barkat (41runs) and Irfan Ahmed (21) top scored whereas the middle order and lower order flopped.
Moreover, Hong Kong kept losing wickets at regular intervals which also affected in their run rate. They were not meeting the required run rate at any point of the game. Hence they were 33 runs shy of winning the game before their overs ran out. They made just 134 runs with the loss of eight wickets.