Nepal defeated Bermuda by 21 runs to remain in hunt for the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 qualifying for the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers playoff at the ICC Academy Oval on Saturday.
Nepal’s chances were hanging by thread after their third loss in the tournament prevented them from reaching the showpiece event in Bangladesh directly as Group ‘B’ winners. With playoff being the only way out for Nepal, the country delivered in the final group stage match despite putting an average total of 148-8 in 20 overs.
Avinash Karn and Jitendra Mukhiya bowled their heart out up front reducing Bermuda to 15-4 inside five overs before packing them up for 127 all out with four balls to spare. The win lifted Nepal to third spot in the points table and can head into the playoff carrying the same status if Sunday’s results come their way.
If Kenya lose to Afghanistan and Scotland don’t beat Denmark with a huge margin on Sunday, Nepal could be just a win away from securing the World Twenty20 spot. If Nepal join the playoff as third-placed team, they will meet second placed team from Group ‘A’ and a victory their will take them in the World Twenty20.
Kenya and Scotland both have six points each while Afghanistan and the Netherlands – who earlier hammered Kenya by 29 runs in a low-scoring game – are confirmed to seal the top two spots with 10 points apiece. Netherlands have already played their seven group stage matches. Bermuda (four points) and Denmark (one) crashed out.
If Nepal finish either fourth or fifth, they will have to play two matches in playoffs and win both of them if they want to materialize the World Cup dreams. Ireland (11 points), Hong Kong (10 points) and UAE (eight points) are in the top three spots in Group ‘A’. Namibia (six) and Italy (five) are fourth and fifth respectively. All Group ‘A’ teams are still left to play one last league stage games.
In the match today, Subash Khakurel and Sagar Pun gave Nepal a positive start adding 37 runs in 5.4 overs. Sagar was out for 19 off 20 with two fours and a six. With the equation of run rate swirling around the team management, coach Pubudu Dassanayake sent Pradeep Airee at No 3 and the batsman hit a six and four before getting dismissed for 22 off 16.
Subash continued to remain consistent making a run-a-ball 35 with three boundaries, while Paras Khadka was dismissed for seven. Binod Bhandari smashed a six and a four in his eight-ball 13 but Gyanendra Malla – demote to No 6 – upped the team’s run rate with some delightful strokes.
Gyanendra made 39 off 22 hitting three boundaries and two sixes.After an average total on the board, Nepal needed to get early breakthrough and Avinash and Jitendra provided it. Avinash was impressive with his in-swingers and conceded just two runs in his first two-over spell.
Nepal were beginning to sniff a huge margin victory when Basanta Regmi got rid of Allan Douglas (14) reducing Bermuda to 49-5 in 8.4 overs.But skipper Janeiro Tucker defied Nepal hammering a 31-ball 48 with five boundaries and two sixes.
Tucker hit Basanta for two sixes and a four in the 11th over before Sagar bowled him in the 13th. Jitendra was declared the man-of-the-match for finishing with the figures of 3-25 in 3.2 overs.