Qualifiers Day 5: Twin upsets as Hong Kong, Nepal emerge victorious.
In what turned out to be an eventful day of cricket, newbies Nepal and Hong Kong came up with an astonishing performance to overcome pre-match favourites Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
In the earlier match, Nepal successfully defended the target of 141, thanks to some inspired bowling. Batsmen Subash Khakurel and Sharad Vesawkar were the top batsmen for Nepal, as they scored about 95 off the total. Shapoor Zardan was Afghanistan’s best bowler, as he took 4 for 19.
The Afghanistan chase started off in an inauspicious manner, as they were reduced to 50 for the loss of 5 wickets. But a quick partnership between Shafiq and Stanikzai brought back Afghanistan back into the game. But constant breakthroughs from Jitendra Mukhiya and Sopal Kami ensured for a famous victory for Nepal.
In the other match for the day, hosts Bangladesh were upset by associate nation Hong Kong. Bangladesh, who batted first, looked comfortable for a modest score of 140-150, but a lower order collapse triggered by Nizakar Khan and Nadeem Ahmed restricted Bangladesh to 108. Sakib top scored for Bangladesh with 108.
Hong Kong’s chase was always a tricky part, and Sakib’s incredible spell of 4 overs 9 runs and 3 wickets ensured that Bangladesh were still in the game. But a solid stand by Irfan Ahmen ensured that Hong Kong were still in the game. Even though there was a middle order collapse, Munir Dar’s knock ensured that they were within the safe distance off the target, and Haseeb Amjad hit the final winning runs.
Though Bangladesh have lost the match, they have qualified for the super-10s. Tomorrow’s qualifiers will decide the second team to qualify, and followed by the first match of the super 10s, which is between Asian rivals India and Pakistan.