Cricnepal/Kathmandu: Nepal’s hope of winning the T20 Cup was halted yet again as arch-rival Afghanistan defeated the host side by seven wickets in the finals played today at Tribhuvan University Ground. Afghanistan have won all of the previous tournaments.
In a crowdy atmosphere, with the attendance of 15000 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 defendable 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.
Having pushed the ball for FOUR in the very first ball, Subash Khakurel and the team seemed confident enough for the win but the continuos pace attack couldn’t resist the wickets of Nepal. Subash(10) was the first to depart with Gulbadin bowling in the second over. Pradeep Airee(1), Gyanendra Malla(10) left the team to 23 for 3 in 5th over. Pradeep was caught by Fazal Niazai off Gulbadin while Gyanendra joined the pavillion with a mid off catch from Samiuallah Shenwari.
With the slow start, as Nepal going on with 41/3 after 10 overs, Paras Khadka hit the first SIX for the team over mid-on leaving the crowd roaring. Well guided 71 runs partnership between Paras and Binod Bhandari took the score of Nepal to 94-4 in 17th over with boundaries coming in between.
Binod was caught at long off for 32 runs while Paras continued to his form until he got run out with Sharad Veswakar providing confusion in the last ball of the 18th over. Binod hit three fours and a six. Earlier, before being hit to the wicket for run, Paras(50) hit four fours and two massive sixes. The bringing of Prithu then proved to be wrong when he got run out for just 2 runs . Last over came as the most successful over for Nepal with Sharad pushing three balls continously for fours, one to mid off, another through midwicket and the last past backward point. Sharad remained not out at 20 at the end of the inning.
Gulbadin claimed two wickets while Shapoor Zadran and Hamza Hotak shared two wickets between them for Afghanistan.
In reply, Afghanistan had the steady start . The first wicket to fall off was Karim Sadiq who got run out for 32 runs in 7th over. Slow but steady, Afghanistan took no risk of huge shot as they accelerated their innings up. Shakti Gauchan was proved lucky when Najibullah Zadran was caught by Gyanendra for 15 runs. Paras then sent out Samiullah Shenwari for 9 runs with Afghanistan being at 83/3 leaving the match at balance. But Afghanistan had nothing to lose, just run a ball or a boundary could make the gap closer. Well experienced skipper Mohammad Nabi and right hand young batsman Gulbadin then made a winning partnership of 54 runs for Afghanistan. Gulbadin, the man of the final remained unbeaten at 43 runs off 42 balls with a four and a six while Mohammad hit six fours in his 23 balls – 38 inning.
Waqas Barkat from Hong Kong was awarded the best batsman with 280 runs off 6 matches while the best bowler was Tanwir Afzal from Hong Kong itself with 11 wickets. Basanta Regmi had 10 wickets. Paras Khadka was adjudged the player of the series. Paras had scored 207 runs at an average of 41.4 with high score being 87 against Malaysia. Paras also got four wickets throughout the tournament.
Paras Gets Pulsar as prize
Hansaraj Hulash Chand and Company provided Paras Khadka a Pulsar NS Bike. While, Sachdeva Entrance Preparation provided cash prize of Rs. 50000 to the team.
CAN announces cash incentives for players
Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) announced to provide each member of the Nepal team with cash prize of Rs. 50,000 each. CAN general secretary Ashok Nath Pyakurel announced the prize during the presentation ceremony of the finals.