Chittagong, Bangladesh: Bangladesh sneaked into the Super-10 stage of the World Twenty20 despite losing to minnows Hong Kong by two wickets in their last first-round match in Chittagong on Thursday.
Bangladesh, sent into bat, fell to a below-par total of 108 all out in 16.3 overs before Hong Kong reached the target for the loss of eight wickets in 19.4 overs.
Hong Kong needed to knock off the target in 13.1 overs to oust the home team in favour of Nepal, who earlier in the day upset Afghanistan by nine runs.
Hong Kong could not achieve that and had almost lost the match before Munir Dar hit a match-turning 27-ball 36 and number nine Haseeb Amjad hit the winning six during his 12 not out.
The side’s captain Neil Atkinson said he hoped Hong Kong build on the win.
“This is the biggest win in our history,” said Atkinson. “We have got a couple of tournaments at the Associate level coming up and we are looking to build on what we have achieved here.”
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim found solace in reaching the next round.
“It is a positive that we qualified for the Super 10s. Probably, we didn’t read the wicket very well, we thought it was a 140 wicket,” said Rahim.
It marks only the fourth occasion when an Associate side has beaten a full Test-playing country in a World Twenty20.
Shakib Al Hasan, who top-scored with 34, turned his left-arm over for 3-9 in his four overs, much to the joy of a capacity 18,000 fans at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
Bangladesh won two of their three matches to qualify on a better net-run rate than Nepal for the next round starting from Friday.
Bangladesh join defending champions the West Indies, Pakistan, India and Australia in Group 2.
Ireland, Zimbabwe and the Netherlands compete for the second qualifying spot from Group B on Friday.
Seven wickets for 23 runs
Bangladesh, sent into bat, had themselves to blame as they spurned a good chance of posting a big total, losing their last seven wickets for a mere 23 runs after being well set at 85-3 by 11th over.
It was Shakib’s wicket that triggered a collapse with left-arm spinner Nadeem Ahmed taking a career best 4-21 and leg-spinner Nizakat Khan grabbing 3-19.
Hong Kong started off well with opener Irfan Ahmad hitting three towering sixes and as many boundaries in his 28-ball 34 but once he was dismissed in the eighth over made the task difficult.
Nepal vanquish Afghanistan
Munir Dar brought Hong Kong back with three boundaries and a six.
In the early match, Nepal, sent in to bat, were lifted by opener Subash Khakurel’s career-best 56 to 141-5 before restricting their much more experienced opponents to 132-8 in a Group A match.
Afghanistan, having thus lost two of their three matches, dashed their chances of reaching the next round.
Paceman Jitendra Mukhiya, who finished with 3-18 in four overs, jolted Afghanistan with two early wickets, while spinner Shakti Gauchan took two wickets in one over to leave the Afghanistan batting in tatters on 50-5.
Shafiqullah Shafiq (36) and Asghar Stanikzai (49) did their best to avert a collapse but, with the equation down to 24 runs in the last over, the match proved way beyond Afghanistan’s reach.
Nepal skipper Paras Khadka expressed delight with the win. “Afghanistan are a good team and this win showed we are improving every day and it was a very good tournament for us,” he said.
There are two qualifying round matches in Sylhet on Friday, while arch-rivals Pakistan and India kick off the Super-10 stage in a match in Dhaka.
Nepal beat Afghanistan by nine runs. Nepal 141 for 5 in 20 overs (S. Khakurel 56, S. Vesawkar 37; Shapoor Zadran 2-19)
Afghanistan 132-8 in 20 overs (Asghar Stanikzai 49, Shafiqullah Shafiq 36; J. Mukhiya 3-18).
Bangladesh 108 all out in 16.3 overs (Shakib Al Hasan 34, Anamul Haque 26; Nadeem Ahmed 4-21, Nizakat Khan 3-19)
Hong Kong 114-8 in 19.4 overs (Munir Dar 36, Irfan Ahmed 34; Shakib Al Hasan 3-9)
Hong Kong win by two wickets.