Nepal national cricket team captain Paras Khadka completes a run as Kuwait bowler Mohammad Aslam stares at the field during the ICC World T20 Qualifiers Asia Finals group match at the Indian Association Ground in Singapore on Saturday. (Right) Nepal national cricket team skipper Paras Khadka with player of the match award. Photo Courtesy: Raman Shiwakoti
KATHMANDU, July 28: The ICC World T20 Asia Finals clash between Nepal and Singapore national cricket teams will be equivalent to a virtual final match for the two teams as the winner will seal a spot in the ICC World T20 Qualifiers. The match will be played at the Indian Association Ground in Singapore on Sunday.
Nepal secured a seven-wicket win against Kuwait in a must-win encounter at the same venue on Saturday to set a deciding clash against Singapore by virtue of being the two teams of the five-team tournament.
Nepal adding two more points on Saturday took its tally to four, one behind Singapore who sits on the top with five points. The winner of the match will qualify for the global qualifiers scheduled to be held in October in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Qatar, Kuwait and Malaysia have completed their respective four matches in the league securing four, three and two points respectively on the table. Qatar defeated Malaysia by four wickets completing the target of 145 runs in the 20th over to secure its second win of the league after defeating favorite Nepal in the second match.
Likewise, Kuwait and Malaysia finished fourth and fifth on the points table with a win each ending the bid for the 14-team world qualifiers.
Paras Khadka, returning in the team after missing the win against Malaysia due to back spasms, led the team with bat scoring brisk 68 runs off 42 deliveries to help Nepal completed the chase of 142 runs in 15.5 overs. This is Nepal’s biggest win terms of balls left in T20Is so far.
Player of the match Khadka smashed 11 boundaries and a six in his match-winning innings. He was firmly supported by veteran Sharad Vesawkar who stayed unbeaten on 38 runs off 30 deliveries which included four boundaries and six. Similarly, Gyanendra Malla, who had scored his record half-century against Malaysia on Wednesday, fired 19 runs off 13 deliveries which included two boundaries and a six.
Kuwait captain Mohammad Kashif tried his best picking up three wickets from his 2.5 overs conceding 30 runs but failed to get any support from other end. None of the other Kuwait bowlers were able to pick any wicket in the match.
Earlier, Nepal won the toss and invited Kuwait to bat first. Veteran left-arm spinner Basant Regmi and leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane tied down the batsmen in the middle overs sharing three wickets each to limit Kuwait for 141 runs for the loss of nine wickets in 20 overs. Karan KC picked up two whereas Avinash Bohora had to do with a wicket in the match.
Kuwait’s Adnan Idrees and Muhammad Aslam contributed 25 and 23 runs respectively. However, skipper Kashif provided the necessary boost to finish the innings in style. The right-handed batsman remained unbeaten on 49 runs which included two boundaries and four sixes. More importantly, Kuwait collected 29 runs in last seven deliveries of the innings. Karan conceded two back to back sixes in his last two deliveries of the spell. Similarly, Bohora conceded 17 runs of his and innings’ last over of the match.