Mohammad Shahzad and Nawroz Mangal star in spirited Afghan chase in rain-hit match
After rain delayed the start to Match 45, it was reduced to seven overs per side affair with Afghanistan winning the toss and fielding. A couple of lusty blows from Sagar Pun and Subash Khakurel, the opening batsmen, gave Nepal a good start before Mirwas Ashraf, the medium pacer, bowled Khakurel out for 16 in the fourth over. Shapoor Zadran removed Paras Khadka for four runs in the next over and Ashraf struck soon after dismissing Pun for a 14-ball 22. A late blitz from Gyanendra Malla, who hit a nine-ball 23 including two sixes and a boundary, took Nepal to a competitive 73 for 3.
Afghanistan got off to a brisk start courtesy an opening partnership of 52 runs from 26 balls between Mohammad Shahzad and Nawroz Mangal. Mangal was dismissed after his 11-ball 22, while Shahzad remained unbeaten at 43 off just 22 balls, taking Afghanistan to its target with a six off Basant Regmi, Afghanistan wrapping up the job in 6.2 overs.
Shahzad, who was named the Man of the Match, said, "When we came to bowl we noticed the ball was coming on nicely on the bat. My coach told me to attack from the start and play my natural game. We had scored 70 odd runs in our earlier match against PNG in 7 overs in the tournament so we were confident on getting them today as well."
Reflecting upon the win, Mohammad Nabi, the Afghanistan captain, said, "This match was really important for us as we if we would have lost then situation for us would have got bit tight on the points table. I was delighted to see so many supporters for both the teams so it was really exciting to get to play today despite the rain and win in front of our so many supporters."
The nine-wicket victory for Afghanistan took it to its fifth consecutive win in the tournament after a loss against Netherlands in the opener.
Nepal will look to better its performance against Bermuda in the next Group B clash against on Saturday, while Afghanistan takes on Kenya in its next match in Sharjah on Sunday.