Cricnepal/Kathmandu – Nepal’s dream of winning the T20 tournament in their own ground in front of jam-packed stadium was ruined by their arch-rivals Afghanistan once again.
Afghanistan have won all of the previous tournaments. Similarly, it was Nepal’s first appearance in the Final of ACC Twenty20 Cup. Since 2004 Nepal has never defeated Afghanistan in any match. The reign for Afghanistan against Nepal started in 2007 ACC Twenty20 Cup where they defeated Nepal by 6 wickets. The defeat in T20 was followed by 3 consecutive ODI defeats in Semi- Final of Division V in 2008, Third Place play off of ACC Elite Cup in 2008 again and Final of ACC Elite Cup in 2010.
In a crowdy atmosphere, with the attendance of 20000 plus crowd, Nepal toiled hard to score a big target and hence had to settle with the total of 135 runs. Though looked as a defend-able score, Nepal couldn’t strike Gulbadin Naib and Mohammad Nabi, probably the most dangerous batsman of the winning side as they chased down the target in 17.5 overs with 13 balls to spare.
Nepal’s batting and bowling both clicked in this tournament. The opening overs by Fast bowlers were the major area of concern for the Coach and the team through out the tournament. Similarly, batting at the depth overs were another issue.
However, Nepal showed a good batting spirit in the tournament. 210/5 was their highest run against Singapore while, 115/9 was their lowest against Hong Kong. Skipper Paras khadka was in top form in all matches scoring 207 runs in 146 balls with two fifties, 19 fours and 6 sixes. 87 (54 balls) was his highest run in this tournament against Malaysia. Likewise, Pradeep Airee was the most promising batsman for Nepal after Khadka. He managed 169 runs with two fifties.
Similary, Basanta Regmi topped the bowling chart for Nepal. He took 10 wickets giving away 136 runs with an average of 13.60 and 5.66 Economy. His best figure was 3/17 against Singapore. Prithu Baskota came in good for the team with the ball. He was used as partnership breaker and managed to roll 6 wickets with an average of 14.0 just below Shakti Gauchan who claimed 8 wickets with an average of 14.12 in his 6 matches.
Nepal team worked hard for this tournament. They played four one-dayers and 5 Twenty20 matches to prepare for the ACC Twenty20 Cup. Coach worked hard with the team as well. He was worried about batting rather than bowling. But in this tournament, they looked clueless against the likes of Hong Kong and Afghanistan. The tournament was organised to select four teams from Asia to participate in 2013 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier to be played in October 2013 in the UAE.
Nepal qualified for the semifinal and secured their place for the upcoming 2013 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers after beating Singapore by 121 runs. That was what required from the team.
Here is the tournament stats of Nepali Cricket team extracted via Cricinfo:
Afghanistan in ACC Twenty20 Elite Cup 2013
Form: W W W L W W(Final)
Nepal in ACC Twenty20 Elite Cup 2013
Form: W L W W W L(Final)
|Paras Khadka||87||54||11||3||161.11||Nepal||v Malaysia||TU Cricket Ground||30 Mar 2013|
|Pradeep Airee||59||26||8||4||226.92||Nepal||v Maldives||TU Cricket Ground||26 Mar 2013|
|Pradeep Airee||58||57||5||2||101.75||Nepal||v U.A.E.||TU Cricket Ground||2 Apr 2013|
|Binod Bhandari||54||34||3||4||158.82||Nepal||v Singapore||TU Cricket Ground||31 Mar 2013|
|Paras Khadka||50||40||4||2||125.00||Nepal||v Afghanistan||TU Cricket Ground||3 Apr 2013|
|Paras Khadka||44||25||4||1||176.00||Nepal||v Singapore||TU Cricket Ground||31 Mar 2013|
|Gyanendra Malla||38||39||3||0||97.43||Nepal||v Hong Kong||TU Cricket Ground||27 Mar 2013|
|S Vesawkar||36*||18||3||2||200.00||Nepal||v Maldives||TU Cricket Ground||26 Mar 2013|
Best bowling figures in an innings
|Basanta Regmi||4.0||1||17||3||4.25||Nepal||v Singapore||TU Cricket Ground||31 Mar 2013|
|Prithu Baskota||4.0||0||20||3||5.00||Nepal||v U.A.E.||TU Cricket Ground||2 Apr 2013|
|Basanta Regmi||4.0||0||23||3||5.75||Nepal||v Hong Kong||TU Cricket Ground||27 Mar 2013|
|Nepal||210/5||20.0||10.50||1||Singapore||TU Cricket Ground||31 Mar 2013|
|Nepal||171/5||20.0||8.55||1||Maldives||TU Cricket Ground||26 Mar 2013|
|Nepal||163/8||20.0||8.15||1||Malaysia||TU Cricket Ground||30 Mar 2013|
|Nepal||135/6||20.0||6.75||1||Afghanistan||TU Cricket Ground||3 Apr 2013|
|Nepal||134/4||19.1||6.99||2||U.A.E.||TU Cricket Ground||2 Apr 2013|
|Nepal||115/9||20.0||5.75||1||Hong Kong||TU Cricket Ground||27 Mar 2013|