Afghanistan 76/1 in 6.2 overs(Shahzad 43, Mangal 22; Paras 1/11) defeat Nepal 73/3 (Malla 23, Pun 22, Ashraf 2/13) by 9 wickets
Mohammad Shahzad scored magical 43 off 22 balls as Afghanistan chased 74 run target by Nepal in 6.2 overs in a match that was shortened to seven overs. With the win Afghanistan extended its T20 victory tally to 5 against Nepal. This was the third loss for Nepal at hands of Afghanistan in last 6 months.
The match was watched by over 10000 people supporters at Sharjah Cricket Stadium divided nearly equally between the two sides. Although heavy rains had rendered the ground almost impossible to play the match took its course with shortened boundries (the reason there were more sixes(11 sixes) than fours(8 fours) in the match) thanks some exception work from the ground staffs.
Shahzad’s 43 runs included 3 fours and 3 sixes.
Shahzad and Mangal provided Afghanistan with ideal start adding 30 runs in the 2 overs of powerplay. The duo added 52 runs in just 4.1 overs to lay the winning foundation for Afghanistan. Paras Khadka got rid of Mangal caught at the cover boundry for 22 of 11 balls.
Khadka who had bowled 5 balls for just 5 runs was lofted for six by Mohammad Nabi in his last ball and Afghanistan needed just 15 to win from 2 overs.
Jitendra who had given 17 off the first bowled the sixth over. After 3 well directed yorkers giving away just 4 runs, he was taken for a six in the fourth ball. Jitendra gave away 12 runs in the over with just.
With just 3 to win from the last over, Shahzad finished the game in style for Afghanistan, hitting Basanta Regmi into the stands with Afgan supporters, with is trademark helicopter shot.
Avinash Karn who made a debut for Nepal in T20 bowled an impressive thrid over giving just 9 runs, which would have been 6 if Khadka hadn’t failed to stop a easy ball from going to boundry. Two of those six runs were wides.
Earlier Winning the toss Afghanside attacked weakness putting Nepal to bat first.As previous matches it was Sagar and Subash Khakurel. Chaces looked slim for Nepal as the first over fetched just 3 sigles for Nepal, and the batsman were missing everything that Zadran bowled.
Khakurel brought some hope in the third over with a four and a six against Dwalat Zadran. Khakurel was caught on third man boundry off the a noball and Pun was bowled in the next ball of a free hit. The second over fetched Nepal 15 runs.
Nabi brought in spin for the third over with Karim sadiq. Pun seemed to favour spin with two sixes in that over-off the first and the final ball. Nepal’s total was 34/0 at end of third over.
Afghan side dragged things back in the middle overs. The overs 4 5 and 6 from Shapoor Zadhran(4th) and Mirawis Ashraf(3rd and 5th) gave away just 20 runs and getting 3 wickets. Zadhran ended with 10 runs and a wicket in his two overs, while Ashraf gave away just 13 from his 2 with got two scalps.
Khakurel was bowled off the first ball of Ashraf-Ball struck on his back pad and it ricochet back onto the leg stump. Ashraf gave just 5 runs in that over.Khakurel made 16 of 13 balls with 1 four and a six. Khadka then joined but was out in the next over of Shapoor Zadran caught at the long on boundry trying to hit a six. Pun fell the next over over to Asharaf missing a straight ball. Pun made 22 of 14 balls
Bhandari who joined then joined Mall in the wicket and knowing he did not have much time to settle, scooped the first ball he faced over fine leg for four. He had earlier in the tournament hit a six of a similar shot against Kenya.
Nepal were 54/3 at end of 6 overs and looked as though they would barely cross 60.But the last over from Nabi fetched 19 runs. Malla got two sixes and a boundry in the last over to take Nepal past 70 runs. Malla top scored for Nepal with 23 off 10 balls.
With the win Afghanistan have climed to top of group B table with 5 wins from 6 matches. Nepal on the other hand are 4th on the table with 3 wins from 6. Nepal will take on Bermuda tomorrow in Nepal’s final group stage match.
Nepal 73/3 (Malla 23, Pun 22, Ashraf 2/13)
Afghanistan 76/1 in 6.2 overs(Shahzad 43, Mangal 22; Paras 1/11)
RESULT : Afghanistan won by 9 wickets
Player of the Match :Mohammad Shahzad (Afghanistan)