World Twenty20 9th Match Group A qualifying round: Khakurel helps Nepal triumph over Afghanistan

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Khakurel smashed six boundaries during his knock of 56

Nepal opener Subash Khakurel scored a stunning half-century to help his side triumph over Afghanistan by nine runs in Chittagong.

Khakurel was well supported by pace bowler Jitendra Mukhiya, who took three wickets.

Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi would have been delighted with his decision to bowl first as he himself took the catch to dismiss Nepal opening batsman Sagar Pun off the bowling of Dawlat Zadran.

Gyanendra Malla managed to score 22 runs before he was caught by Nawroz Mangal at short third man off the bowling of Nabi.

Nepal captain Paras Khadka failed to have an impact as he was clean bowled by Mirwais Ashraf for one run.

Khakurel and Sharad Vesawkar stabilised the innings with a fantastic 76-run partnership, during which Khakurel brought up his half-century, before he was caught by Asghar Stanikzai at deep midwicket off the bowling of Shapoor Zadran.

Kharurel’s brilliant knock of 56 came off 53 balls and included six boundaries and a six.

Vesawkar ended up making 37 off 32 deliveries, which included five boundaries, before he was caught behind off the bowling of Shapoor Zadran.

Thanks to Khakurel and Vesawkar, Nepal finished on 141/5 at the end of their 20 overs.

Shapoor Zadran was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Dawlat Zadran, Nabi and Ashraf chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing 142 to win, Afghanistan got off to a horrible start as Karim Sadiq was clean bowled by Sompal Kami for eight runs.

Mohammad Shahzad only made six runs before he was caught by Kami at third man off the bowling of Mukhiya.

Mukhiya struck again the very next ball when Najibullah Zadran was caught by Vesawkar at mid-on for five runs.

Mangal fared no better as he was caught by Khadka at deep square leg off the bowling of Shakti Gauchan for five runs.

Nabi failed to save his team as he was given out lbw off the bowling of Gauchan for just one run.

Shafiqullah made a quickfire 36 before he was caught by Pun at point off the bowling of Basant Regmi.

Samiullah Shenwari scored 15 runs before he was brilliantly caught by Khadka at mid-on off the bowling of Mukhiya.

Stanikzai was the standout performer for Afghanistan with the bat as he smashed 49 runs off 36 balls, which included four boundaries and a six, before he was caught by Malla at long-on off the bowling of Kami.

Despite Stanikzai’s heroics, Afghanistan fell short of their target by nine runs.

Mukhiya was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Kami and Gauchan snapped up two wickets each and Regmi chipped in with one.

Nabi was livid with his team’s performance, and said: “Yes, we enjoyed the tournament. It was a big event. We didn’t start well and we didn’t end well and we are upset with that.”

Khadka was ecstatic to have won the match, and said: “Afghanistan are a very good team and we are slowly getting there. [There are] A lot of positives we can take from this tournament. We need to push harder and the results will come in the future.”

Mukhiya edged out Khakurel for the Man of the Match award, and said: “It was my responsibility as an opening bowler to provide a good start. Thanks to the crowd who supported us throughout.”

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