All as expected on day one in Nepal
The ACC Twenty20 Cup got underway in Nepal today, and the four matches went exactly as expected, with the hosts, Afghanistan, Hong Kong and the UAE all recording wins.
In the opening game for hosts Nepal, the Maldives, now without the retired Moosa Kaleem, won the toss and chose to field first. Nepal started with an opening partnership of 80 between Pradeep Airee and Subash Khakurel which ended when Airee was bowled having scored 59 from just 28 balls.
The run scoring then slowed down until the final few overs when Sharad Vesawkar and Manjeet Shrestha put on an unbroken 43 for the sixth wicket, taking Nepal's score to 171-5 from their 20 overs.
This was beyond the Maldives, and they could only score 95-7 from their 20 overs, losing by 76 runs, Paras Khadka the pick of the Nepali bowlers with 2-7.
The other match in Group A today was between Malaysia and Hong Kong, with Irfan Ahmed the star of the match. He bowled four overs in Malaysia's innings, conceding just nine runs in Malaysia's total of 103-9. He then smashed 87 from just 46 bals to take Hong Kong to a six wicket win with eight overs to spare.
In Group B, defending champions Afghanistan took on Oman. Batting first, Afghanistan scored quickly to start with, Karim Sadiq wasting no time with 46 from 27 balls. They slowed down after Sadiq's dismissal, and a mini collapse saw them lose three wickets in three balls with the score on 113.
They recovered to score 150 before they were bowled out for 150. Afghanistan may have been without Dawlat Zadran and Hamid Hassan, but their attack was still too much for Oman, who were bowled out for 106, Mohammad Nabi taking 4-18.
The other match in Group B today saw the UAE chose to field first against Kuwait. It looked to be the wrong decision when Kuwait's opening pair put on 69 in just five overs before Aamir Javed was bowled for 29. Opening partner Yasar Idrees stayed in and scored 46 before he was run out.
His wicket sparked a middle order collapse and a corresponding drop in the scoring rate as Kuwait reached 110 when the sixth wicket fell in the 14th over. Eventually the eight wicket pairing of Azmatullah Nazeer and Saad Khalid put on 49 in the final five overs, with Khalid scoring 36 from 20 balls as Kuwait reached 172-7 in their 20 overs.
What looked a challenging total became even more so when Bakhtiyar Ahmed was bowled by Raheel Khan from the first ball of the innings, his second duck in consecutive internationals after a third ball duck against Ireland last week.
But the rest of the UAE batting line-up all got a start and they eventually won by five wickets with seven balls to spare, Amjad Ali top scoring with 39.
Tomorrow's matches in Group A will see Nepal take on Hong Kong and the Maldives play Singapore. In Group B, Oman will play the UAE and Bahrain will play Afghanistan.