Afghanistan stormed in the final of ICC T20 Qualifier with 7th straight win in the tournament defeating Nepal comprehensively by 7 wickets.
After restricting Nepal to a diffident 90 for 8, Afghanistan cruised to victory with 34 balls to spare riding on 48 from Nawaroz Mangal.
Winning the toss, Nabi put Nepal to bat first in a flat wicket.The commentators unaware of Nepal’s problem batting first were baffled by Nabi’s move. Izatullah Dawalatzai with double strike early on showed how perfectly Nabi had aimed for Nepal’s Achilles’ heels.
Nepal were 11/4 in the fourth over. After being nailed back right at the start, Gyanendra Malla and Paras Khadka looked at setting a fight back, adding 21 runs. But after Paras missed a straight one from Samiullah to be stumped for 13 the hopes for Nepal never recovered. With that being the highest partnership of the innings, Nepal was never going to challenge Afghanistan’s strength except for a miracle
Samiullah got rid of Gyanendra Malla for 15 the next over. Binod Bhandari was also out to a lbw Samiullah. Samiullah Shenwari returned figures of 3 for 19 in his four overs of leg break, while Dawlatzai and Dawlat Zadran picked up two wickets apiece. Dawlatzai who replaced Hamid Hassan in the Afghan side was playing his first match.
Sharad Vesawkar remained unbeaten on 27 and made sure Nepal batted the 20 overs.
Chasing 90 Avinash Karn gave Nepal early hopes getting rid of Mohammad Shahzad for 4 in the first over. Afghanistan lost both the openers the second over as Noor Ali had to leave retired hurt. Karn broke in his second over thanks to a brilliant catch by Shakti Gauchan.
Mangal then put together 69 runs with player of the match Shenwari (24*) to ensure Afghanistan stayed on course for easy victory.
Mangal was eventually stumped off Basant Regmi for 48 off just 34 balls, but Afghanistan was only 11 runs short of victory at that stage. Gulbadin Naib finished the game with a six to guide Afghanistan to the final, where it will face either Ireland or UAE tomorrow. Nepal will face the loser of the match for the third place.
Nepal have however already qualified for the ICC T20 World Cup 2014 in Bangladesh.