Nepal crush USA in the final
Round-up of the ICC World Cricket League Division Four matches in Kuala Lumpur
Nepal maintained their unbeaten run in the World Cricket League Division Four after completing an easy eight-wicket win over USA in the final of the tournament in Kuala Lumpur. The win was set up by left-arm spinner Basanta Regmi's five-wicket haul, which limited USA to 145 after they had chosen to bat. USA's top order was not allowed to settle into any substantial partnership as regular strikes reduced them to 83 for 5. The lower half of the batting order was then skittled by Regmi as Nepal removed the last four batsmen for eight runs.
Nepal lost opening batsmen Anil Mandal, who had scored a century in the previous game, in the third over, but a 93-run stand between Subash Khakurel and Gyanendra Malla all but sealed the contest. Malla scored a 65-ball 66 that included seven hits to the boundary and three over it, but was out in the 20th over. Khakurel, who remained not out on 40, shared another unbeaten stand with captain Paras Khadka to help Nepal achieve the target with 22 overs to spare. Regmi, who ended up as the tournament's leading wicket taker with 21 wickets, was awarded Man of the Match.
Both teams, however, had already qualified for Division Three and Nepal's coach, Pubudu Dassanayake, expressed happiness on his team's performance: "The team did just what was needed here and deserved to win. When I came to Nepal the goal was always to get this team up to a chance of qualifying for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and this Division 4 win now means we're one step closer. There's a lot more hard work to do but I'm delighted with the progress so far."
Denmark collapsed to their lowest total in the tournament and ended in fourth position after a five-wicket loss to Singapore. Denmark chose to bat first but lost five wickets within the first 11 overs to Singapore's opening bowlers Chetan Suryawanshi and Amjad Mahboob. There was a brief recovery as Denmark hobbled to 60 without any further loss, but they lost three wickets on the same score and caved in to 83 in 26 overs.
Singapore were given a scare in their chase as Denmark opening bowler Bashir Shah picked two wickets in his first two overs, but by the time the next wicket fell - on 59 - Singapore were well on their way. Shah turned out to be the lone hand for Denmark, picking up all five wickets to fall, as Singapore finished the chase in the 17th over.
Although Singapore finished third, captain Saad Janjua was disappointed with the team's performance: "We came to Malaysia to win this tournament. The third place finish is very disappointing. We trained hard, prepared well but a bit of bad luck with the weather and the fact that our batting didn't click meant we underperformed."
In the third match of the day, Malaysia beat Tanzania by five wickets to finish fifth in the tournament. Tanzania equalled their best score in the tournament after being put into bat. Opening batsman Abhik Patwa scored 67 off 105 balls and helped Tanzania out from a tricky 45 for 3 after a 66-run partnership with Nasibu Mapunda (30 off 52). But Malaysia chipped away with wickets, while keeping a tab on run-scoring, to leave themselves with exactly the same target to achieve as the day before.
Tanzania bowlers responded well to first remove previous game's centurion, Rakesh Madhavan, in the 11th over. Seventeen overs later, Malaysia were five down on 85, giving Tanzania a sniff of a first win in the tournament. But an unbeaten 103-run stand between Shafiq Sharif (57 off 80) and Khizar Hayat (49 off 60) helped Malaysia cross the line in the 46th over.
Malaysia captain Suhan Alagaratnam said: "We bowled well but our batsmen have struggled throughout this tournament and we were in some difficulty until Khizar and Shafiq played well to get us through."