Nepal fails at final hurdle, Afghanistan crowned Champion.
May 7- Afghanistan have secured the first position of the 2014 ACC Premier League after defeating Nepal by 108 in a rain-affected match played at the Kinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.With this defeat, Nepal could only secure the third position in this tournament to qualify for the ACC Championship to be held in U.A.E. in December.
Nepal won the toss and invited the Afghan team to bat first.The Afghanistan opening duo of Noor Ali Zardan and Usman Ghani made a blistering start as they added 98 runs off 19.1 overs for the first wicket.Newcomer Aarif Sheikh provided the first breakthrough for Nepal when he dismissed Noor Ali Zardan for 43 runs.His fellow opener Usman Ghani followed soon at the team score of 107.The game looked evenly poised when Afghanistan lost their fourth wicket at the score of 157 in 34.1 overs.But a quick-fire partnership of 64 runs between the duo of Hashmatullah Shaidi and Mohammad Nabi tilted the match in favor of the Afghanistan team.However, with the dismissal of danger-man Mohammad Nabi (34 runs off 25 balls), the Nepali bowlers made a spectacular comeback to claim last six Afghan wickets for just 41 runs,eventually, dismissing them for 262 runs inside the allotted 50 overs. Usman Ghani and Hashmatullah Shaidi were the top-scorers for Afghanistan with the identical score of 51 runs.Shakti Gauchan, who shared the new ball with Sompal Kami, was the pick of the Nepali bowlers with the figure of 3-39. Basanta Regmi and Aarif Sheikh also chipped in with a notable contribution of 3-45 and 2-39 respectively.
Chasing a target of 263 runs to win, Nepal’s top-order problems were once again exposed as they fail to lay a solid foundation.Nepal continued to lose wickets at regular interval.They had lost half of their side inside 13 overs with the score reading a meager 51 runs.The game was interrupted for 115 minutes when Nepal had reached the score of 56 runs for the loss of 5 wickets in 17th over.After the resumption, Nepal was given the revised target of 237 runs in 32 overs by the D/L method.But the lackluster performance of the Nepali batsmen continued as they could only managed 128 runs in 32 overs with the loss of 9 wickets,eventually, losing the match by 108 runs.Skipper Paras Khadka’s 33 runs was the only note-worthy contribution by the Nepali batsmen.Player of the match Dawlat Zadran was the main destroyer of the Nepali batting line-up with the figure of 4-26 off seven overs.