Nepal's Asia Cup Qualifiers dream sours despite a comprehensive winNepal registered a thumping nine-wicket win over Thailand, but they could not finish in the top two positions, meaning they are out of the race for the Qualifiers.
Nepal's ambitions of qualifying for the Asia Cup Qualifiers was dealt a hammer blow, despite their thumping nine-wicket win over the hosts Thailand in their penultimate match of the ACC Eastern Region Twenty20 Qualifiers in Bangkok on Wednesday.
Nepal, who pulled off their first win in the third match of the campaign, saw their qualification hopes evaporating after Singapore defeated Hong Kong to register their third win from as many matches. With the win, Singapore also sealed their place for the Asia Cup Qualifiers, with six points. The Asia Cup Qualifiers will be held in August, in Malaysia.
As the tournament offers two top teams place for the Asia Cup Qualifiers, the winners between Hong Kong and Malaysia, both of which have four points each, will qualify for the final. Had Hong Kong defeated Singapore, Nepal could still remain in the hunt for a second place. Nepal now lie fourth on the table with two points after one win and two defeats.
On Wednesday's match played at Terdthai Cricket Ground in Bangkok, Nepal bundled out Thailand for 66 runs before completing the chase in just their sixth over.
Winning the toss and deciding to bat, Thailand's woeful campaign continued and they struggled against the Nepali bowlers. Opener Naveed Pathan was caught for eight in the second over, which triggered Thailand’s downfall. Daniel Jacobs played 10 balls but failed to open his account as he was run out in the third over. Henno Jordan and Phiriyapong Suanchuai were the top scorers and the only two batsmen to reach double digit scores with 13 runs each.
Thailand’s score would have been even lower had Nepal not given away 17 runs in extras, including eight wide deliveries. Thailand finished their campaign with four losses and a highest total of 96 runs.
Karan KC took three wickets giving away just 12 runs in his four overs. Avinash Bohora had two and Bhuwan Karki and Sandeep Lamichhane took one each. Almost every bowler had healthy bowling figures. Karki conceded six but the one who stood out was of Lamichhane. The spinner bowled 22 dot balls in his 24 deliveries.
Chasing the modest Thailand total, Nepal lost Paras Khadka for nine in just the second over. Khadka was stumped off a Nopphon Senamontree's delivery. Opener Kushal Malla blasted 36 from 18 deliveries and Pawan Sharraf made a quickfire 27 from 10 balls, as Nepal finished the game by attaining the required 72 runs score from only 33 balls.
Game of records for Nepal
Nepal thumped Thailand by nine wickets but the victory was a bittersweet moment for the team after they failed to qualify for the Asia Cup Qualifiers. However, Nepal set some new records in the game.
• 22 dot balls: Spinner Sandeep Lamichhane had just one wicket to his name in the match. But he bowled 22 dot balls from his 24 deliveries. He becomes the first Nepali bowler to have that many dot balls in a single innings by Nepali bowler in T20 international match. He also recently became the first Nepali bowler to take 100 T20 wickets.
• 87 balls to spare: Chasing 67 runs for victory, Nepal raced towards victory from just 33 balls. With 87 balls to spare, the match was also the quickest Nepal won in its history. Previously, Nepal had won against Kuwait with 25 balls to spare during the ICC Asia Regional Qualifiers last July.
• 66 all out: The 66-run total scored by Thailand was also the lowest runs scored by any opponent against Nepal in T20 international matches. Nepal had previously restricted Hong Kong to 69 runs in a 2014 T20 World Cup game in Bangladesh.