Subash Khakurel hit a maiden half-century and Jitendra Mukhia claimed career best 3-18 Thursday to help Nepal notch its second victory in the World Twenty20 with a nine-run win over Afghanistan.
Khakurel struck 56 off 53 balls as Nepal scored 141-5, recovering from a relatively sluggish start. Nepal bowlers, complimented by solid fielding, left Afghanistan scampering at the outset and eventually restricted them to 132-8.
Afghanistan raised hopes of a victory in the last over when they required 24 with three wickets at hand. Asghar Stanikzai hit a series of boundaries off Sompal Kami to bring down the equation to 10 off two balls.
However, the desperate attempt of hitting another six went in vain with Gyanendra Malla taking a simple catch at long-on to dismiss him.
Stanikzai struck six fours and one six in his 49 off 36 balls.
But the early of Afghanistan innings was dominated by Jitendra Mukhiya (3-18), who ripped through the Afghan middle order by taking two wickets on consecutive deliveries. He was aided by Shakti Gauchan in triggering the collapse in the Afghan innings to take the match completely away from their grips.
Gauchan had figures of 2-25, while Sompal Kami also took 2-32.
Khakurel smashed six fours and one six in 56 off 53. He was sluggish at the start but guided the side toward a safe target as wickets were tumbling.
His 76-run partnership with Sharad Vesawkar set the tone. Vesawkar scored 37 off 32 and Gyanendra Malla made 22.
Shapoor Zadran took 2-19 for Afghanistan.
Nepal 141-5 in 20 overs (Subash Khakurel 56, Sharad Vesawkar 37; Shapoor Zadran 2-19, Mirwais Ashraf 1-14) def. Afghanistan 132-8 (Asghar Stanikzai 49, Shafiqullah 36; Jitendra Mukhiya 3-18, Shakti Gauchan 2-25) by nine runs.
Meanwhile Bangladesh lost to Hong Kong for the first time on but qualified for the World Twenty20 main draw on run rate.
Bangladesh, unbeaten in the group stage and expected to romp past winless Hong Kong, was dismissed for 108 in 16.3 overs. Hong Kong then had to reach the winning target within 14 overs to ruin the party for the tournament host and help Nepal advance instead.
But Hong Kong also struggled to score and didn't earn its maiden World T20 victory until the last over, with two wickets and two balls left, Haseeb Amazad hitting the historic winning runs with a six over extra cover off Abdur Razzak.
Bangladesh moved into Group 2 of the Super 10 with India, Pakistan, Australia and the West Indies. The host's first match is against the West Indies on Tuesday.
For Hong Kong, spinner Nadeem Ahmed claimed 4-21, legspinner Nizakat Khan had figures of 3-19, and medium pacer Tanwir Afzal took 2-24, starting the rout of Bangladesh with both wickets in the first over.
Shakib Al Hasan top-scored with 34, his dismissal sparking Bangladesh's collapse from 85-3.
Shakib then boosted his side with his left-arm spin, taking 3-9 in four overs to slow down Hong Kong and dash Nepal's hopes.
Opener Irfan Ahmed put Bangladesh's aspirations in jeopardy with three sixes and three boundaries but Shakib produce a gem that spun viciously to trap Ahmed lbw, out for 34 off 28 balls.
Mahmudullah joined Shakib in frustrating Hong Kong further but Munir Dar rose to the occasion. He ripped 36 off 28, including three fours and one six, although Bangladesh had already qualified by then.
Razzak dismissed Dar, then Sabbir Rahman bowled Afzal's middle wicket to leave Hong Kong needing nine runs to win off nine balls.
Haseeb Amzad negotiated the nervy moment to get Hong Kong home.
Mahmudullah picked up 2-13.
Hong Kong 114-8 in 19.4 overs (Munir Dar 36, Irfan Ahmed 34; Shakib Al Hasan 3-9, Mahmudullah 2-13) def. Bangladesh 108 in 16.3 overs (Shakib Al Hasan 34, Anamul Haque 26; Nadeem Ahmed 4-21, Nizakat Khan 3-19) by 2 wickets.
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