Nepal joined Afghanistan and Ireland, becoming the third team to qualify for the World T20 2014 in Bangladesh with a last-ball win against Hong Kong in Abu Dhabi. It's the first time Nepal will be heading to a global event.
Nepal entered the final over needing 13 to win and Sharad Vesawkar swung a six down the ground followed by an inside-edged four through fine leg. Vesawkar was back on strike to face the final delivery with scores level and pierced a packed ring through extra cover to send Nepal through to Bangladesh with a five-wicket win.
Chasing 144, Nepal got off to a solid start, but Hong Kong kept chipping away every time it appeared Nepal was about to seize control. Tanwir Afzal bowled opener Subash Khakurel behind his legs for 16 and Sagar Pun made 22 off 19 before he was pinned on the crease by a full delivery by Haseeb Amjad.
Gyanendra Malla and Paras Khadka came together and added 33 for the third wicket before Malla heaved Aizaz Khan to deep midwicket for 30. Atkinson kept Nepal off balance with a series of bowling changes as dot balls kept piling up to bring the equation to 32 off 20 balls for Nepal to win.
Khadka only struck two boundaries in his 46 off 39 and cleverly seized on ones and twos to anchor the chase. He offered a chance to Jamie Atkinson behind the stumps on the last ball of the 18th, but Hong Kong's wicketkeeper-captain spilled it and in the process injured his right thumb before exiting the field for treatment. A front foot no-ball by left-arm spinner Nadeem Ahmed was slammed past the umpire for a boundary two balls into the 19th and it looked as though Hong Kong would crumble without their captain. However, Hong Kong erupted in the field when Khadka was run-out two balls later after changing his mind too late on a second run.
After sending Hong Kong in to bat, Nepal had bowled and fielded marvellously for the majority of the innings before a hiccup in the final two overs allowed Hong Kong to reach 143 for 8. Hong Kong had a handful of players cross 20, but none made it past 25. The dangerous Irfan Ahmed was the first of three wickets for seamer Jitendra Mukhiya, edging a short ball to Nepal captain Paras Khadka at first slip in the second over. Hong Kong captain Atkinson sliced Avinash Karn to point at the start of the fifth. The two bowlers shared five wickets between them.
The win also took Nepal to the semi-final of the qualifying tournament where they will meet Afghanistan.
"This is the biggest moment of our lives. Our childhood dreams have come true," Khadka said. "I think the boys have worked really hard for this and been pushing it in the World Cricket League and the Twenty20 format. I think when it mattered, everyone contributed, and I am really glad we have qualified for the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014. The tournament is still not over. We are now in the semi-finals and most likely to play Afghanistan. So, it's about time that we give them what they've been giving us all these years."
UAE 117 for 8 (Khurram 32, Malik 4-17) beat Netherlands 107 for 9 (Aziz 3-21) by 10 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
UAE became the fourth team to seal their spot in the World Twenty20 2014, successfully defending 117 against Netherlands in Abu Dhabi. Netherlands will have another go at qualifying on Thursday, playing Scotland - who won the previous match between these teams in the tournament - j for one of the two remaining open spots.
UAE batted first and openers Mohammad Azam and Shaiman Anwar didn't appear to be troubled by the gentle pace offered by Mudassar Bukhari, but both contributed to their own demise with some clumsy running that resulted in a pair of run-outs. Azam tried to nudge Bukhari past Stephan Myburgh at point for a single, but Anwar turned him down and Azam was unable to get back in his crease after committing early. After being too cautious in rejecting Azam's call, Anwar was too aggressive going for a third run on a delivery hit toward the cover boundary and failed to make it before the throw from Micky Swart arrived over the stumps at the non-striker's end to make it 29 for 2 in the sixth.
Khurram Khan tried to counterattack and top scored with 32 off 24 balls, but either side of his dismissal, Swapnil Patil and Rohan Mustafa were caught in the covers off loose drives for 1 and 10 respectively, leaving UAE at 69 for 5 in the 12th.
Mohammad Shafiq and Asim Khurshid patiently added 43 for the sixth wicket but their attempt at a late surge was thwarted by Ahsan Malik, who took three wickets in the 19th. Malik's 4 for 17 meant he overtook Hong Kong's Munir Dar as the tournament's wicket-taker with 17.
The total of 117 initially looked well below par, but the Netherlands got off to a nervy start and never looked comfortable at any point in their chase. Stephan Myburgh took nine balls to get off the mark - he did by hitting a six over midwicket - then perished two balls later to Manjula Guruge in the same region. Swart returned the favour from UAE's poor running between the wickets in the first innings when he went for a suicidal run in the ring.
Netherlands never shed their cautious manner and UAE's bowlers pounced on the timid approach and stifled the scoring. Netherlands ended the Powerplay at 21 for 2, and two overs later Barresi sent a leading edge back to Nasir Aziz for 11.
Eric Szwarczynski and Peter Borren briefly tried changing tactics, bringing out a scoop and reverse-sweep for much needed boundaries. Their success was shortlived, though, as Szwarczynski also ran himself out, on 23, going for a second run.
Borren was unlucky to be given lbw after he was struck outside the line of off, before Aziz took a juggling reflex return catch to nab Ben Cooper for 20 to make it 85 for 6.
Tim Gruijters hit a six to end the 18th, leaving the equation at 24 off 12 balls to win. Nepal had achieved victory earlier in the day with 26 needed off the final two overs, but Netherlands had to do it with their tail and couldn't manage enough boundaries. Gruijters fell to Aziz in the 19th for 8 and Michael Rippon was the third Netherlands player run out, with two balls to go in the match.
Scotland 126 for 3 (MacLeod 56, Berrington 52) beat Italy 125 for 8 (Northcote 46, Carter 2-26, Sharif 2-19) by seven wickets
Scotland openers Richie Berrington and Calum MacLeod scored half-centuries to keep the team's hopes of reaching the 2014 World Twenty20 alive, with a seven-wicket win over Italy in Abu Dhabi. Scotland will now play Netherlands for a spot in next year's showpiece event, but Italy have been eliminated.
Berrington and MacLeod put up a stand of 112 that sent Scotland well on their way of overhauling the modest target of 126. Berrington hit 52 off 44 deliveries with six fours, while MacLeod's 45-ball 56 included seven fours.
Offspinner Carl Sandri dismissed both batsmen in the 15th over, but Michael Leask and Kyle Coetzer took the team home with 15 balls to spare.
Italy, choosing to bat, had earlier made a bright start as the opener Gareth Berg raced his way to a 16-ball 24 inside four overs. However, medium-pacer Safyaan Sharif removed both Berg and Peter Petricola in successive overs of his, leaving Italy at 41 for 2 after six overs. Andy Northcote made 46, but in the absence of any other big score or partnership, Italy were restricted to 125 for 8 from their 20 overs, with Sharif and Neil Carter taking two wickets apiece.
Papua New Guinea 145 for 4 (Jones 36, Ura 34) beat Namibia 120 (Williams 42, Raho 3-10) by 25 runs
The Papua New Guinea bowlers, led by Pipi Raho, kept the team's chances of qualifying for the ICC World T20 in Bangladesh alive with a convincing 25-run win against Namibia, who were eliminated from the race. PNG will now meet Hong Kong on November 28, the winner of the match going through to the world event in Bangladesh.
Raho's three wickets in his first three overs helped PNG to reduce Namibia to 16 for 4 while defending 145, a start from which Namibia wasn't able to recover and were bowled out in the 19th over. Craig Williams was the only batsman to put up any resistance, scoring 42 off 37 balls with the help of two fours and two sixes.
PNG had been given a flying start, again by Tony Ura, who scored most of the runs in a 42-run opening stand. It was followed by two more important innings, first by Geraint Jones, who scored 36, and then by Jack Vare, who remained unbeaten on 30, to help the team to a competitive total. The PNG bowlers made sure it was more than enough.