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Afghans deal massive blow to Nepal's Super Six hopes

Mar 10, 2018 | Cricketingnepal |

Afghanistan dealt a massive blow to Nepal's ambitition of reaching the Super Six of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers with an easy six-wicket victory at the Bulawayo Athletic Club in Zimbabwe on Saturday. 

Tasked for an accomplishment that they haven't had in the last 14 years -- of beating Afghanistan -- to remain in hunt for the Super Six, Nepal were bundled out for just 194 runs in 49.5 overs after Paras Khadka once again had to bail out the team from the threshold of humiliation. 

Afghanistan negotiated with the target professionally and reached 295-4 in 38.4 overs on a back of a collective effort from their batsmen. Winless Nepal are now in need of an improbable huge margin victory over Hong Kong in the final Group 'B' game to seal the last available spot for Super Six. 

Zimbabwe became the second team to qualify from the pool after they swept aside Hong Kong by 89 runs. Scotland have already qualified from the group and have earned the one-day international status. 

Nepal rang two changes in the side with Anil Sah replacing opener Dilip Nath and Karan KC coming into the side in place of Sharad Vesawkar. The change in opening department didn't work as Anil lost his wicket in the fourth over for seven runs.

Paras played with his usual aggression taking little time to settle in the crease and together with Gyanendra Malla combined for a 92-run second wicket stand which could have been a match-winning partnership had the middle order capitalised. 

Gyanendra continued to get sluggish and hit two fours in his 69-ball 23 before falling prey to Afghanistan skipper and world No 1 ODI bowler Rashid Khan. Paras was next to as the skipper tried to up the ante and holed out a catch to Samiullah Shenwari for 75 off 82 that included 10 boundaries and a six. 

Dipendra Singh Airee was the other batsman to play with grit as he struck three fours and a six making 41-ball 32 and lost his wicket to Rashid. Nepal should have lifted their innings at 179-5 with 31 balls left.

But they went on to lose remaining five wickets adding just 15 runs in 30 balls. Veteran Afghan bowler Mohammad Nabi took 4-33, while Rashid returned the figures of 3-45. 

Najibullah Zadran top scored in Afghanistan innings with an unbeaten 52 from 47 balls hitting four boundaries and three sixes. Nabi also chipped in with the bat making 34 from 32, while Rahmat Shah contributed 46 from 75 with five boundaries. 

Dipendra took 2-25 from six overs, while Karan and leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane had one scalp apiece. Nepal will play Hong Kong on Monday.



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