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ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers : Nepal lose to Afghanistan by 6 wickets

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KATHMANDU — Nepal faced a six-wicket defeat against Afghanistan in their ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers match at Bulawayo in Zimbabwe on Saturday.

With the third consecutive loss, Nepal’s hope of securing their berth in super-six has become slimmer. Earlier, Nepal had faced defeat to hosts Zimbabwe and Scotland in their first two matches.

Nepal won the toss and chose to bat before making a total of 194 runs losing all the wickets in 49.5 overs at Bulawayo Athletic Club in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. In reply, Afghanistan achieved the 195-run target without much difficulties and with over 11 overs remaining.

Najibullah Zadran smashed a half-century for Afghanistan while Rahmat Shah and Mohammad Nabi scored 46 and 34 runs respectively. Zadran’s 47-ball 52 included five boundaries.

Afghani openers had made a moderate start to the innings as captain Rashid Khan and Javed Ahmadi created a 28-run partnership for the first wicket. Khan made 14-ball 21 while Ahmadi contributed 26 runs.

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Dipendra Singh Airee claimed two wickets whereas Karan KC and Sandeep Lamichhane took one each for Nepal.

Earlier, Captain Paras Khadka smashed a half century while Dipendra Singh Airee contributed 32 runs for Nepal. Nepal could not make a strong start to the innings with openers Gyanendra Malla and Anil Kumar Sah managing to forge 13-run partnership only for the first wicket.

Likewise, Vice-Captain Gyanendra Malla scored 23 runs facing 94 deliveries. Aarif Sheikh was another notable contributor for Nepal as he struck 23 off 42 balls and his innings was studded with three fours.

Mohammad Nabi claimed four wickets for Afghanistan while spinner Rashid Khan had three.

Nepal will play their match against Hong Kong on Monday.

The top two teams from the 10-nation Qualifier will book their berths for next year’s World Cup in England while top three teams from each of the two pools will advance to the Super Six round where three slots as an ODI nation are up for grabs.

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World Cup: Belgium defeats Tunisia 5-2

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MOSCOW — Belgium have defeated Tunisia 5-2 to move one step closer to the next round of the World Cup on Saturday.

Two goals each from Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku eased Belgium to a 5-2 win over Tunisia at Moscow’s Spartak Stadium.

Michy Batshuayi, on loan at Dortmund from Chelsea, added the fifth in the game’s dying minutes, only for Tunisia captain Wahbi Khazri to claim a consolation goal in added time.

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Eden Hazard opened the scoring for Belgium with a goal from the penalty spot before Lukaku extended the Belgium lead, Tunisia pulled a goal back to make it 2-1 before Lukaku restored the two goal cushion with a deftly chipped finish over the goalkeeper.

Second half goals from Hazard and Batshuayi finished the game as a contest before a consolation from Khazri with the last kick of the game.

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