Nepal face second consecutive defeat

Kathmandu, March 1

Nepal suffered the second consecutive defeat after the national cricket team faced a 43-run loss against Hong Kong in the ACC Eastern Region T20 at the Terdthai Cricket Ground in Bangkok today.

Chasing a 155-run target, Nepal were packed for 111 runs with 11 balls to spare.

Nepal had faced a 22-run defeat at the hands of Malaysia yesterday and the second straight loss has dented their hopes of top two finish in their bid to earn berth in the 2020 Asia Cup Qualifiers.

Chasing a modest target, Nepal made a flying start with openers Kushal Malla and skipper Gyanendra Malla putting in 42 runs in 4.2 overs before the former handed a catch to Nizakat Khan Mohammad off Haroon Mohammad Arshad, Malla struck three fours in his 14-ball 19.

Nepal then lost wickets at regular interval as skipper Malla fought the lonely battle scoring 46 off 43 balls that included four boundaries and a six. No 11 batsman Abhinash Bohara hit one each four and six in his seven-ball 12, while Md Arif Sheikh (10) was the only other player to contribute in double figures for Nepal. Haroon Mohammad Arshad completed five-wicket haul taking 5-16 from 3.1 overs, while Aftab Hussain garnered 3-14 and Eshan Khan claimed 2-18.

Earlier, Nizakat Khan Mohammad top scored for Hong Kong scoring a quick fire 48 off 29 balls with the help of six boundaries and two sixes, while skipper Mohammad Aizaz Khan struck one each four and six in his 20-ball 29. Haroon Mohammad Arshad (27), Shahid Wasif (26) and James John Atkinson (13) chipped in valuable runs for Hong Kong.

Star legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane claimed 2-25 from four overs, while Sushan Bhari grabbed 2-37 for Nepal. Kushal Malla also pocketed a wicket.

Nepal will play against Thailand on March 4 and face Singapore two days later.

Top two teams from Eastern and Western Regions will earn berths in the Asia Cup Qualifiers to be held in Malaysia in August and the winners will join five Test-playing nations — India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan — in the tournament proper.