Nepal beat Kuwait by 5 wickets

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, February 22:

Nepal kept their hopes of advancing to the semi-finals alive defeating Kuwait by five wickets in the ICC World Cup Qualifying Series Division 2 Cricket Tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia today.

With the win, Nepal earned two points and will play against Italy (0) in a must-win match on Thursday. Papua New Guinea, who beat Italy by five wickets on Tuesday, qualified for the semi-finals from Group B with four points. Kuwait, which plays Italy on Thursday, has two points.

Batting first after skipper Ghayoor Ahmad won the toss at Selangor Turf Club, Kuwait were bowled out for 95 runs in 31 overs, with Dhirendra Chand being the chief destroyer. Nepal skipper Binod Das removed openers Ghayoor Ahmad, the highest scorer in the innings with 21 runs, and Khalid Butt for a duck. In between Chand removed No 3 Saud Oamar (7), No 4 Yaseen Mugal (9) and Sabtain Raza for a duck. At that time, Kuwait were reeling at 54/5.

The last five wickets added 41 runs for Kuwait with only Azhaulla reaching the double figure mark as Chand added another two wickets to his credit and returned with 5-26 in nine overs. Binod Das also added another wicket in his name for 3-14 off seven overs.

In reply, Nepal started badly losing four wickets for 33 runs, but managed to overcome the target losing five wickets in 44 overs.

The top order faltered again with Paresh Lohani (5), Mehboob Alam (0), Paras Khadka (9), Dipendra Chaudhary (6), and Kanishka Chaugain (4) falling cheaply. However, the sixth-wicket unbroken 57-run partnership between skipper Das and No 5 Shakti Prasad Gauchan led Nepal to a five-wicket victory. Both the batsmen remained unbeaten on 27 each with man of the match Das hitting five fours in his 90-ball innings, and Gauchan playing 119 balls.

For Kuwait, Khalid Butt and Yaseen Mugal took two wickets each.

Meanwhile, Qatar and Fiji qualified for the last four from Group A with four points each. Zambia and Cayman Islands are yet to earn any point.

On Tuesday, Qatar defeated Cayman Islands by 6 wickets. Batting first, Cayman were bowled out for 207 runs in 50 overs. In reply, Qatar overcame the target in 47 overs losing four wickets.

In other match, Fiji beat Zambia by 110 runs. Elected to bat first, Fiji were bowled out for 185 runs in 48 overs. In reply, Zambia could muster only 75 runs in 31 Overs.