Nepal have provided the fairytale story at this World Twenty20 Qualifier but they were no match for Afghanistan, who set the template for Affiliate and Associate Members on the rise. Afghanistan qualified for the final, as they did last year, with a seven-wicket victory secured with 34 balls remaining. Nawroz Mangal made a brisk 48 before falling with 11 needed but Gulbadin Naib came in to strike a couple of boundaries, winning the match with a six. Last month, Afghanistan secured passage to their first World Cup and their bowlers proved too experienced for Nepal on this occasion. The biggest partnership of the innings was 21, for the third wicket, after Izatullah Dawlatzai had removed both openers. Paras Khadka, Nepal’s captain, became the first of three victims for Samiullah Shenwari, having made 13, and only two other players reached double figures. Sharad Vesawkar’s unbeaten 27 helped them bat out 20 overs but the target was not enough to trouble Afghanistan, who will get a chance to regain the title they lost to Ireland in 2012.
Ireland 147 (Johnston 35, O’Brien 31, Guruge 3-21) beat UAE 85 (Sorensen 4-15, Murtagh 4-24) by 62 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Ireland’s seamers tied a noose around United Arab Emirates batsmen to set up a convincing 62-run victory to secure their third consecutive final appearance in the World T20 Qualifier. Max Sorensen and Tim Murtagh picked up eight wickets between them as UAE were bowled out for 85.
Ireland’s decision to bat first received a jolt as they were three down in the sixth over, but cameos from Kevin O’Brien and John Mooney sparked the revival. Their 41-run stand was followed by a blitz from Trent Johnston. His 18-ball 35 included five fours and a six and was instrumental in Ireland recording a competitive total. Manjula Guruge was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 21.
UAE’s batsmen began briskly, but since the first strike in the third over, their momentum was hampered. Sorensen picked up the first four wickets with the home side still looking for their 50. Murtagh’s 4 for 24 helped clean up the tail, with No. 6 Rohan Mustafa being the last batsman to register double figures.
Scotland 146 for 5 (Berrington 70*) beat Papua New Guinea 143 for 5 (Vare 35*, Haq 3-25) by five wickets
Richie Berrington scored his second half-century in three innings to marshal Scotland’s chase in a thrilling last-ball win against Papua New Guinea to finish seventh in the ICC World T20 Qualifier. With thirteen needed in the last over, Scotland lost a wicket and could only manage five runs in the first four balls. However, Matthew Cross hit the next two balls for a six and a four to push Scotland over the line. Berrington stayed unbeaten on 70 off 55 balls and was responsible for managing the chase along with Kyle Coetzer after Scotland were 31 for 3 at one stage. Matt Machan, the leading run-scorer in the tournament, could only score 1. PNG chose to bat and the top order made useful contributions to lift the team to 143, with Jack Vare scoring an unbeaten 35 off 24 towards the end of the innings. Majid Haq was the most successful bowler with three wickets for 25.
Netherlands 124 for 3 (Cooper 42, Khan 3-10) beat Hong Kong 121 for 7 (Hayat 46, Kingma 3-22) by seven wickets
Fresh from his strong innings in the qualification decider against Scotland, Ben Cooper produced another good display with the bat to see Netherlands past fellow Bangladesh-bound Hong Kong. Cooper is coming into form late in the tournament and made 42 in just 30 balls to breese his side past a modest target. He struck five fours and three sixes to help take a big chunk from the chase for the first wicket. Cooper and Stephan Myburgh put on 67 in 47 balls before they fell in quick succession to Nizakat Khan. His third wicket gave Hong Kong a sniff of defending a target largely set up through Babar Hayat’s 46 in 36 balls, but Tim Gruijters and Daan van Bunge both played controlled innings to steer Netherlands to victory with eight balls to spare.
Afghanistan 96 for 3 (Mangal 48) beat Nepal 90 for 8 (Shenwari 3-19) by seven wickets.