Captain Rashid Khan got the match off to a lively start, hitting five fours during a 14-ball stay that reaped 21.
Super Six Hopes Alive After Team Beats Nepal
Afghanistan secured a much-needed win over Nepal in their Group B game at Bulawayo Athletic Club on Saturday, to just about keep their hopes of Super Six qualification alive.
Chasing just 195 for victory, Afghanistan wrapped up their first win of the tournament by six wickets with 11.2 overs to spare, the ICC reported.
Captain Rashid Khan sprung a surprise by walking out to open the innings and got things off to a lively start, hitting five fours during a 14-ball stay that reaped 21. His partner Javed Ahmadi was more sedate, building his way to 26 off 54 balls and from 93/2, Nepal really needed to force a dramatic collapse if they were to achieve an unlikely victory. It never came.
No.3 Rahmat Shah hit 46 off 75 balls and Mohammad Nabi 34 off 32 before both were removed by Dipendra Singh Airee, ICC reported.
Following their recent results, there will have been a few nerves among the Afghanistan camp but they didn’t show. Najibullah Zadran brought about an early finish with a brisk 47-ball 52 featuring three sixes and four fours – including an 18-run over off left-arm spinner Basant Regmi to put the result beyond doubt.
Earlier, the spin trio of Mohammad Nabi (4/33), Rashid Khan (3/45) and Mujeeb Zadran (1/24) did the bulk of the damage, while Shapoor Zadran, the fiery paceman, got two wickets towards the close to end with 2/32, but the standout performance came from the gallant Nepal captain Paras Khadka, who almost single-handedly kept his team in the fight with an 82-ball 75, reported ICC.
Mujeeb Zadran struck as early as in the fourth over, sending back Anil Sah, but the experienced firm of Gyanendra Malla, the opener, and Khadka then kept the Afghan bowlers at bay for 22 overs, adding 92 runs for the second wicket. Khadka was by far the more aggressive of the two, and Malla had contributed only 23 in 69 balls when he became Rashid’s first victim.
One wicket brought two for Afghanistan, as Khadka was dismissed soon after by Nabi, his wonderful innings studded with 10 fours and a six, and Nabi quickly accounted for Rohit Paudel too to leave Nepal at 123/4.
That Nepal still managed to bat for 49.5 overs and add some decent meat to their total was down to Dipendra Airee, who scored a 41-ball 32, and Aarif Sheikh, who contributed 23 from 36 balls, even as Nabi added the scalps of Sheikh and Sompal Kami to his kitty.