Nepal miss out again
Nepal are developing a bad habit when it comes to semi-finals. Since beating Malaysia in the semi-final of the 2002 ACC Trophy, they have lost all four of the semi-finals they've reached.
First was the semi-final of the World Cup Qualifying Series tournament in Malaysia in 2005, then it was the semi-final of the 2006 ACC Trophy, then the semi-final of the World Cricket League Division Five tournament in Jersey earlier this year, and now the semi-final of the 2008 ACC Trophy Elite.
The team eliminating them this time, as in 2006, was the UAE. Nepal had chosen to bat, but if they were hoping to set the UAE a tough target, they were sadly mistaken. The UAE bowlers kept the Nepal batsmen tied down, and none of them really got started.
Pick of the UAE bowlers was captain Khurram Khan, who took 3/20 from six and a half overs, and credit must also be given to Shadeep Silva, who went for just 22 runs from his ten overs, taking two wickets in the process. Nepal were eventually bowled out for 166 in the 48th over.
The UAE lost Mohammad Iqbal early doors, and there was a brief burst when Nepal took three wickets for 19 runs, but in the end they cruised to their target with four overs to spare, winning by six wickets. Khurram Khan completed a fine all-round performance by top scoring with an unbeaten 42.
The other semi-final, as in 2006, was Afghanistan against Hong Kong. Hong Kong's innings got off to a terrible start as Hasti Gul removed the top three with just 22 runs on the board. Not long after, Hong Kong were reduced to 25/5 and were looking like making less than 100.
But the lower order rallied to enable Hong Kong to crawl to 154/9 from their 50 overs. Hasti Gul was unable to add to his three early wickets, but was still the pick of the Afghan bowlers with 3/23.
Afghanistan should have chased that target down, but their fragile batting line-up again reared its ugly head. Ahmed Shah (36) was the only batsman to get a start as Afghanistan collapsed to 129 all out, losing by 25 runs. Ilyas Mohammad and Nadeem Ahmed both took three wickets each for Hong Kong.
In the other match of the day, Singapore beat their old rivals Malaysia by 18 runs, despite a fine 107 from Malaysia's Suhan Kumar, to finish fifth for the second consecutive tournament, and make their spot in the new World Cricket League Division Six pretty much secure.
Today's matches will see the semi final losers play in the third place play-off, whilst Bahrain will play Kuwait in the seventh place play-off, and Qatar will play Saudi Arabia in the ninth place play-off. The final will take place on Sunday.