Nepal and Malaysia reach semi-finals
Nepal and Malaysia secured their semi-final places at the ACC Trophy Elite in the UAE today after winning their final group matches.
Nepal had a potentially tricky clash against Hong Kong, and they started badly when Subash Khakurel was dismissed from the second ball of the Nepali innings. They eventually recovered to score 225-7 in their 50 overs, captain Paras Khadka leading the way with 61.
The total should have been a relatively simple chase for a strong Hong Kong batting line-up, but instead they struggled against some tight Nepal bowling. For a third time in the tournament they lost their first wicket without a run on the board, and they soon found themselves on 43-6 after 18 overs after losing three wickets for no runs inside eight balls.
Babar Hayat and Tanwir Afzal stayed in for another twelve overs, putting on 33 for the seventh wicket, but they were the only batsmen to make any significant contribution as Hong Kong were bowled out for 100, losing by 125 runs. Basanta Regmi was the pick of the bowlers with 3-20.
Malaysia needed to beat Bhutan in Abu Dhabi to be certain of a semi-final and, truth be told, they were always going to do so. They bowled well to dismiss Bhutan for 84, 16 year old Anwar Rahman continuing his fine form with 4-29. They then scored the runs in 13 overs to win by 8 wickets, Ahmed Faiz top scoring with an unbeaten 37.
These two winning sides will meet in the semi-finals tomorrow, as will Afghanistan and the UAE. The prize for winning those semi-finals isn't just a place in the final but a place in a tournament involving the A teams of the four Asian Full Members next year.
In other matches played today, Kuwait thumped Saudi Arabia by 143 runs and Oman had a similarly comprehensive win over the Maldives by 123 runs.
Ranking play off matches will also be played tomorrow, with Hong Kong playing Oman for fifth place, Kuwait taking on the Maldives for seventh place and Bhutan and Saudi Arabia will hope to avoid the wooden spoon in the ninth place play off.