Afghanistan have won their first ACC Trophy capping a great season for them so far. Nepal were beaten by 95 runs but for a long time the game was in the balance. Nepal elected to field after winning the toss and had the Afghans in trouble early on at 14 for 2 after six overs.
That Afghanistan recovered to 224 was due to opener Karim Sadiq (58 off 105) holding things together until the 28th over, playing within himself but always full of threat. Mirwais Ashraf with 24 off 26, 16 of them coming in boundaries, played a useful hand in the middle order but it was Raees Ahmadzai (52 ) and Mohammad Nabi (42) in a partnership of 97 off 103 balls which got Afghanistan up to a competitive total.
|Noor Ali is run out and Afghanistan lose their first wicket|
224 all out was still about 30 runs below par on a good batting wicket. Nepal, going into bat, would’ve had every expectation of chasing down the target but Afghanistan’s bowlers bowled a series of challenging deliveries short of a length which literally put the Nepal innings on the back foot. Three wickets fell for 28 inside the 11th over and Paras Khadka, the big wicket, fell after making 11 at the end of the 17th over trapped in the crease by a Nabi off-break.
|Shakti Gauchan and Nepal on the back foot|
Gyanendra Malla’s innings promised much. He is a batsman of great class and composure, comfortable on the front and back foot with strokes all around the wicket. His run out in a mix up with Sharad Vesawkar, following some fine work by Mohammad Shahzad behind the stumps, put paid to any hopes Nepal would have of seriously challenging the Afghan total. Vesawkar stayed on for 35, ninth man out.
|Hamid Hassan breaks through and Nepal are 102 for 8 after 32 overs|
All of Afghanistan’s bowlers were up to the mark and the team showed the benefits of being professional cricketers. Nepal will come back stronger for the experience, Afghanistan march on towards their first ICC World Twenty20.
FINAL: Afghanistan v Nepal at Hubara
AFGHANISTAN WON BY 95 RUNS
Nepal won the toss and elected to field
Afghanistan 224 all out off 50 overs (K.Sadiq 58, R.Ahmadzai 52, M.Nabi 48; B.Das 3-35)
Nepal: 129 all out off 40 overs (G.Malla 30, S.Vesawkar 35)
Man of the Match: Raees Ahmadzai (Afghanistan)
Pictures by Salman Hussain
Filed April 9th, 2010