Nepal get one foot in semis
Today's big game in the ACC Elite Trophy was the clash between Nepal and Singapore at the Kinrara Oval. It promised to be a close match but in the end saw Nepal pick up an easy win.
Singapore elected to bat after winning the toss, and when Mahaboob Alam took the first three wickets, bringing back memories of his demolition of Mozambique in Jersey earlier this year, Singapore were struggling on 56/3. Captain Chaminda Ruwan made 40 to provide some backbone to the innings, but the middle and lower order collapsed around him.
Runs were hard to come by with Alam (3/25) and Shakti Gauchan (2/17) being particularly economical from their ten overs. Singapore crawled to 155/9 from their 50 overs, and it was never going to be a tough target. Whilst Nepal did lose three early wickets, they still chased down their target in 41 overs to win by six wickets, Paras Khadka top scoring with an unbeaten 71.
Nepal should now make the semi-finals, but they can still be passed by both Hong Kong and Kuwait. Nepal will play Kuwait in their final group game, and given Nepal's penchant for failing in "crunch" matches, one doesn't want to say Nepal are definitely there just yet.
In the other matches of the day, the UAE beat Bahrain by eight wickets thanks to 4/19 from Mohammad Tauqir as Bahrain were bowled out for 122, whilst Hong Kong thrashed Qatar by 176 runs thanks to a fine ninth wicket partnership of 118 between Ilyas Gul (56) and Moner Ahmed (89) that took Hong Kong to 276. Irfan Ahmed then took 5/47to bowl Qatar out for exactly 100.
Tomorrow's matches will see Kuwait play Qatar in Group A whilst in Group B hosts Malaysia will play the UAE and Afghanistan will play fellow affiliate member Saudi Arabia. The race for the semi-finals is still wide open, with only Qatar currently unable to reach them.