Nepal’s aspirations of playing the 2015 World Cup and enjoying ODI status for the next four years have been dashed following a 10-wicket crushing loss to Hong Kong in their third match of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers on Sunday.
Needing an outright victory, and that too with a big margin, Nepal were down and out after they were 150 all out in 49.3 overs. Openers Irfan Ahmed and Waqas Barkat then carried the bat taking Hong Kong to 154-0 in 33.2 overs for their biggest victory in the tournament so far.
Hong Kong rather registered their third consecutive victory and moved to the top of the table in Group ‘A’ securing a place in the Super Six which will now open them the gates for World Cup and ODI status.
Nepal played with skipper Paras Khadka for the crucial match but a horrible batting from their top and mostly trusted middle order pile misery on the team’s big ambitions.
Opener Anil Mandal (three), Sagar Pun (two), Gyanendra Malla (duck), Prithu Baskota (one), Shakti Gauchan (eight), Sharad Vesawkar (four), Binod Bhandari (eight) all fell cheaply watching their injured skipper struggle at the other end.
Paras made sure he was not losing his wicket and stayed long at the pitch going beyond his usual attacking style taking 75 balls to make 29 but other batsmen never had a go in the match. Paras made 29 off 75 and was he eighth wicket to fall as Nepal’s score read 65-8 in 26.5 overs.
Basanta Regmi and Som Pal Kami saved Nepal’s blushes sharing 57 runs for the ninth wicket. After Som Pal was dismissed for 26 off 48 hitting four boundaries, Basanta shared another 28 runs with last man Avinash Karn (three not out) taking Nepal to 150.
Basanta made 45 off 79 with with four boundaries and a six. Haseeb Amjad picked up four wickets for Hong Kong, while Aizaz Khan and Irfan Ahmed had two wickes apiece.
Ahmed and Barkat began cautiously in the chase and with the pitch helping batsmen after the first innings, steadily kept Hong Kong cruising.
Irfan — who came into the match wih an unbeaten century against Canada in their previous match — made 86 from 97 balls with eight fours and four sixes. Barkat made 56 off 106 with seven hits to the fence. Nepal play against Canada in their final group stage match.