A choking Nepal threw away a solid position to lose their ACC Emerging Teams Cup opener against Afghanistan by three runs in Singapore on Saturday.
Nepal bowlers did a great job by restricting Afghanistan — who are just a win away from qualifying for the 2015 World Cup from ICC World Cricket League Championship — for just 169-9 in a moist and damp conditions at Singapore Cricket Club grounds.
Nepal were safely cruising when skipper Paras Khadka came with his usual best taking the team to 131-3 in chase of a rain-reduced target of 161 runs from 46 overs. However, four run outs changed the fortune of the game as Nepal were skittled out for just 157 in 45.3 overs.
The loss meant Nepal’s losing streak against the Afghans continued stretching it to five matches. Nepal’s only victory against Afghanistan was a 47-run win against the Pashtuns during the 2004 ACC Trophy Plate final.
Paras top scored in the match under difficult conditions making 60 off 62 balls with six boundaries and two sixes. Paras shared 43 runs for the third wicket with Gyanendra Malla and 48 runs with Sharad Vesawkar.
Gyanendra and Sharad made 24 runs each with both batsmen hitting a boundary each. Opener Subash Khakurel made 23 off 55 with two boundaries. Five Nepali batsmen including opener Anil Mandal (three) was run out.
Earlier, Basanta Regmi returned with the figures of 5-31 from 10 overs as the Afghans captitulated to Nepali spin attack. Debutant Avinash Karn, Chandra Saud and another ODI debutant Sagar Pun picked up one wicket each.
Asghar Stanikzai made 33 runs for Afghanistan, while opener Nawroz Mangal made 31 with Gulbadin Naib making 30 not out and Mohammad Shahzad scoring 22.