Afghanistan secure semi-final place; Kuwait upset Nepal
Afghanistan became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals of the ACC Trophy Elite today with a six wicket win over the Maldives.
The Maldives batted first after winning the toss at the ICC Global Cricket Academy secondary ground, and only two of their batsmen were able to make any sort of significant contribution. Mohotte Jayakody scored 46 and Mohamed Rishwan scored 45 as the Maldives were bowled out for 143.
Three Afghanistan bowlers took three wickets each - Sayed Shirzad, Rahmat Shah and Mohammed Nabi, and it was Nabi who would star in the Afghanistan reply.
Gulbodin Naib gave the innings its early impetus, scoring 35 as an opener, an unusual position for the all-rounder. Nabi also scored 35, but the manner in which he finished the innings of was quite remarkable. On 11 going into the 26th over, Nabi smashed four huge sixes, two of which sailed out of the ground, in four balls to secure the 6 wicket win.
In the other group A match between Oman and Malaysia in Abu Dhabi, all eyes were on Zeeshan Maqsood, the man who scored 199 on his debut in Oman's win over the Maldives on Wednesday. But he was at the other end of the scale today, and was bowled by Nazril Rahman on his first ball - quite the come down.
Rahman went on to take 5-18, and only two Oman batsmen got a start, Vaibhav Wategaonkar scoring 57 and Adnan Ilyas scoring 44 as they were bowled out for 159.
Malaysia weren't too convincing in reply, but they did manage to win by two wickets with two overs to spare, Aminuddin Ramly top scoring with 45.
The Group B match at Al Dhaid Cricket Village saw Nepal take on Kuwait. Nepal captain Paras Khadka batted superbly to score an unbeaten 106 from just 77 balls, Gyanendra Malla also chipping in with 53. Nepal scored 280-4 from their 50 overs, setting a seemingly unassailable target.
Kuwait though had other ideas, starting their reply with a 92 run opening partnership between Irfan Bhatti and Abid Mushtaq, which ended when Mushtaq was out lbw to Shakti Gauchan for 54. Two quick wickets and Kuwait were on 111-3, Bhatti out for 47.
Kashif Sharif and Sibtain Raza then put on 113 for the fourth wicket in 19 overs, the partnership ending when Sharif was out for 59. Raza stayed in a little longer to score 77, taking the score to 250-5 with six overs remaining.
Captain Hisham Mirza was able to guide his team home with a steady unbeaten 26 to secure an upset four wicket win.
The other Group B match, at the main ICC Global Cricket Academy ground, was between Hong Kong and the UAE. Hong Kong batted first and were bowled out for 215, Nizakat Khan top scoring with 40, with Ahmed Raza the pick of the bowlers with 3-27.
The UAE had little trouble chasing the target, and did so in 42.2 overs to win by six wickets, Shaiman Anwar top scoring with 83.
Tomorrow's matches in Group A see Afghanistan play Bhutan and Malaysia play the Maldives. In Group B, Nepal will play Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will play hosts the UAE.