April 7, 2010

ACC news

Afghanistan and Nepal prepare for ACC final

Sahil Dutta

Tony Munro

A new country will have its name added to the list of ACC Trophy Elite winners when Afghanistan plays Nepal in the final on Friday.

Afghanistan comfortably beat defending champions Hong Kong by five wickets in one semi-final while Nepal held off a brave chase by Malaysia to win by eight runs in the other.

Mohammad Nabi maintained his reputation as Afghanistan's best player to earn the Man-of-the-Match award taking 3 for 35 and then contributing 35 not out in another good all-round performance.

Nabi ended the innings of Hong Kong's top scorer, Hussein Butt (63) to help restrict Hong Kong to 205 all-out in 48.1 overs. Butt had smashed three sixes and four fours in his 113-ball innings. Butt's removal at 152 for 5 in the 40th over stymied his team's momentum which was further slowed when Nabi dismissed Moner Ahmed (18 off 17 including a four and a six).

Afghanistan began their chase of 206 in rollicking fashion scoring at six runs an over, although were precariously placed when captain Nowroz Mangal was bowled by Moner Ahmed for 1. The Afghans were 4 for 89 after 13.1 overs, and in need of a stabilising partnership. This came when Asghar Stanekzai combined with Raees Ahmadzai (38) to put on 81 runs for the fifth wicket. Irfan Ahmed provided late hope for Hong Kong when he took a return catch from Ahmadzai, but this only brought Nabi to the crease. Stanekzai played a key innings for Afghanistan, compiling an unbeaten 55 from 93 balls, including three fours and a six.

Malaysia all-rounder, Suresh Navaratnam, almost pulled off another match-winning performance as he scored 115 as his side fell just eight runs short in the other semi-final against Nepal. Navaratnam took vital wickets in his team's win over United Arab Emirates on Wednesday. As he passed his century it seemed he may play a similar role, this time with the bat, but Malaysia was all-out with two balls remaining. It was seemingly the second unlikely comeback in two days after Nepal amassed 271 for six in their 50 overs. Nepal's total was based around an unbeaten 97 from Sharad Vesawkar with help from Gyanendra Malla (49) and Shakti Gauchan (52).

Friday's final should attract considerable interest, featuring the two teams with the most passionate suuporters in Asian non-Test cricket.

In the play-off for seventh and eighth place, event hosts Kuwait celebrated their last game of the tournament with a comfortable 10 wicket win over Bhutan.

Perhaps wanting to protect their bowlers from conceding another record score, Bhutan opted to bat after winning the toss. The Bhutanese battled hard to survive 41.4 overs to reach 132 all out. Left-hander Sonam Tobgay (48) top-scored for Bhutan while Tshering Tashi made 32. Slow left arm bowler Muhammad Javed was the pick of the Kuwaiti bowlers, taking 3 for 31.

The fact batting is the stronger of the Bhutanese disciplines was evidenced when Kuwait needed just 11.5 overs to overtake Bhutan's total. Kuwait opener Khalid Hussain smashed 83 not out and captain Hisham Mirza an unbeaten 38 to give Kuwait a 10 wicket victory with 139 balls to spare. Both teams can now rest up until December when they are due to play in the World Cricket League Division Eight tournament, also in Kuwait.

The ACC Trophy continues on Thursday when United Arab Emirates and Oman meet in the play-off for fifth and sixth places.

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Sahil Dutta is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by anil on (May 9, 2010, 7:17 GMT)

unfortunately nepal loose the game.

Posted by Zadran on (April 14, 2010, 7:51 GMT)

As all of you commented on this article, once again the time proved that afghanistan is the best new growth team and will beat more champions in the next future.

good luck afghanistan in the next T20

Posted by bipul on (April 9, 2010, 6:33 GMT)

nepal is the best non test playing nation and has a great passion for great.every children in nepal have passion for cricket

Posted by sabal dahal on (April 9, 2010, 6:13 GMT)

This time Nepal will surely win this title. There is no chances to win the title by Afganistan. The top player like Raul bika, paras khadka, mahomad alam, shakti gauchan, gyanendra malla and the other player will make the nepali proud. You can do it boys.

Posted by binay on (April 9, 2010, 1:39 GMT)

Nepali is really a good team, they will definitely beat afghanistan. all the best Nepal. Nepal will be the next asian nation to play test cricket

Posted by Tom Logan on (April 8, 2010, 18:16 GMT)

We England people wish Afghanistan best of luck.

Posted by Ganesh Tamang on (April 8, 2010, 15:50 GMT)

Nepal surely will gonna win this match against Afganistan to get the ACC Trophy there in Kuwait. So, I am very much confident about Nepal's win over Afganistan 'coz our team is much balance team in this tournament. We have got lots of experience players and young one too. Lets the finger crossed.

Posted by punj on (April 8, 2010, 7:20 GMT)

its great to see nepal rising up again. had the infrastructures and the security of playing for the country been better, nepal would have raised its performance before itself.

Posted by krishnaoli on (April 8, 2010, 6:46 GMT)

i think many supporters from Nepal in Kuwait the plan is to became the ACC CHAMPION for that nepal just win a match, but without any plan it would be difficult to beat Afghanistan team. actually both team is similar but now days nepali batsman progressing very well. since 5 -6 matches es we have not loose any team out fielding, bowling, and batting line more strong other any ACC TEAM SO HOPE final also would be great match for nepal. thank you for the kantipuronline web pages and cricinfo. com because many nepali cricket supports are keeping their own speech from these web site .

Posted by Supen on (April 8, 2010, 6:16 GMT)

The finals between the most deserving countries in non test palying nation in Asia. We surely will witness the tough fight between the two nations. Afghanistan surely the favorite with its fairytale success in international cricket, but Nepal also being developing cricketing nation where cricket is taken bit more seriously also has the edge with its consistent success in the recent tournaments... Best of luck Nepal and afghanistan ... You are the gem to Asian cricket.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Dutta
Assistant editor Sahil Dutta grew up supporting England during the 90s. Despite this, he still enjoys the game. His unrequited passions for Graeme Hick and, in latter years, Vikram Solanki gave him a stoicism that guided him through an Economics degree and a stint working at the European Parliament. He maintains the purest love for Tests and the whims of legspin bowling and still harbours hope that he could be the answer to England's long search for a mystery spinner. As it is, his most exciting cricketing experience was planning a trip to Australia for the 2006-07 Ashes with two utterly indifferent friends. Unfortunately his lung collapsed shortly before his planned departure and the pair were left to wander around from Test to Test, unprepared and clueless. Any comparisons with England are far too obvious to make. That cancelled holiday inspired an Ashes blog which led, via some tea-making at the Wisden Cricketer, to the ESPNcricinfo towers.

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