Huge blow as Nepal dismantle Hong Kong on debut at ICC World Twenty20
Left-arm spinners tear apart the heart of the batting line-up in skipper Jamie Atkinson’s squad
Hong Kong’s entry on the world stage ended in a massive disappointment with Nepal crushing them by 80 runs in their opening group A game at the ICC World Twenty20.
Chasing a total of 150, Hong Kong were spun out for 69 with left-arm spinners Basant Regmi and Shakti Gauchan sharing six wickets between them.
Hong Kong’s batsmen froze on their first appearance on the international stage allowing the Nepalese spin duo to wrap a web around them.
Seven wickets fell for four runs as Hong Kong were sent tumbling from 58 for three to 69 all out.
It was a nightmare of epic proportions, one that seemed hardly likely after a superb build-up had earned Hong Kong wins over test-playing nation Zimbabwe and top associate member the Netherlands.
Only three batsmen managed to reach double figures, Waqas Barkat (18), Babar Hayat (20) and Mark Chapman (13).
Regmi sparked the collapse when he dismissed the in-form Chapman, who was bowled trying to guide the ball to third man.
Nizakat Khan followed on the next ball, also clean bowled.
It got worse when Hayat and Aizaz Khan followed in the next over from Gauchan.
Hong Kong had earlier produced a poor performance in the field, too, dropping three catches.
The first one was a sitter, which cost them the wicket of the dangerous Nepalese captain Paras Khadka.
Khadka made the most of the let-off and with Gyanendra Malla put on 80 runs for the third wicket, which proved to be the cornerstone of a competitive total of 149 for eight.
Hong Kong were put under the cosh by the Nepal openers who cruised to 36 before a superb catch by Barkat, diving to his right at extra cover, dismissed Sagar Pun.
In the next over another good catch by Khan at mid-on sent back other opener Subash Khakurel as Nepal lost two wickets in the space of four balls with the score of 36.
But Khadka and Malla set about building a foundation and aided by some poor bowling – Hong Kong conceded four wides – and dropped catches steered Nepal to 116 before Khadka holed out to long on where Nizakat Khan took a good catch running around.
The run chase got off to the worst possible start with Irfan Ahmed dismissed on the first ball and it put Hong Kong under immediate pressure as the asking rate spiralled out of control.
In the other group A match, hosts Bangladesh knocked off Afghanistan easily winning by nine wickets. Afghanistan were dismissed for 72 in the 17th over and Bangladesh coasted to a comfortable victory with eight overs to spare. The group winners will qualify for the Super 10 stage.