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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Najibullah and Nabi keep Afghanistan alive

Afghanistan 195 for 4 (Najibullah 52*, Rahmat 46, Airee 2-25) beat Nepal 194 (Khadka 75, Airee 32, Nabi 4-33, Rashid 3-45) by six wickets

Rahmat Shah and Najibullah Zadran came up with vital contributions as Afghanistan bounced back from three successive losses to register their first win at the World Cup Qualifers. The six-wicket win over Nepal with 11.2 overs to spare meant Afghanistan still have an outside chance to qualify for the Super Sixes.

For that, they will need Nepal to beat Hong Kong in their final group game on Monday. This would force a three-way between Afghanistan, Nepal and Hong Kong, with Afghanistan having a good chance or progressing because of a superior net run rate. However, they will not carry forward points (points are only carried forward for victories against the other teams progressing to the Super Sixes, and Afghanistan have lost to both Scotland and Zimbabwe).

Nepal's decision to bat first, seemingly with an eye on their opponents who haven't chased well so far in the competition, seemed justified when Paras Khadka, the captain, struck a 82-ball 75 at No. 3 to set up a strong platform. But with just one other batsman - Dipendra Airee - crossing 30, they were shortchanged. The innings came to a grinding halt in the final over, with Nepal collapsing from 105 for 1 to 194 all out.

Rashid Khan, the Afghanistan captain who went wicketless in his team's defeat to Hong Kong on Thursday, claiming three wickets. Mohammad Nabi, the offspinner, was also at it, slicing through the middle order to finish with 4 for 33. Sixteen-year-old mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who had shared the new ball with Shapoor Zadran, picked up 1 for 24 in his 10 overs. Forty seven of his 60 balls were dots. In all, Afghanistan's bowlers bowled 193 dots.

Rashid promoted himself to open but fell in the sixth over to fast bowler Karan KC. Afghanistan were then steered by a 65-run second-wicket stand between Javed Ahmadi and Rahmat, before Sandeep Lamichhane, the legspinner, struck. When Airee struck three overs later, Afghanistan were wobbly at 111 for 3 and in dire need of a partnership.

Nabi brought his experience of 94 ODIs to calm down proceedings, while also knocking off runs quickly. His 34 came off just 32 balls courtesy two fours and a six. Najibullah, meanwhile, kept going. He brought up his second half-century of the tournament to see Afghanistan through.

Nepal have one game left to play in the group stage, and are still searching for their first win in the tournament.

Afghanistan 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st28Javed AhmadiRashid Khan
2nd65Javed AhmadiRahmat Shah
3rd18Mohammad NabiRahmat Shah
4th39Mohammad NabiNajibullah Zadran
5th45Samiullah ShinwariNajibullah Zadran

ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier (ICC Trophy)

Super Sixes
TeamMWLPTNRR
WI54180.472
AFG53260.302
ZIM52250.42
SCOT52250.243
IRE52340.346
UAE5142-1.95
Group A
TeamMWLPTNRR
WI44081.171
IRE43161.479
UAE4224-1.177
NL4132-0.709
PNG4040-0.865
Group B
TeamMWLPTNRR
ZIM43071.035
SCOT43070.855
AFG41320.038
NEPAL4132-0.893
HKG4132-1.121