DUBAI – Afghanistan booked their berth in a third consecutive ICC World Twenty20 qualifier final after defeating Nepal by seven wickets in the first semi-final at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
In Saturday’s final, Afghanistan will play the winner of the second semi-final featuring Ireland and the United Arab Emirates.
Man of the match Samiullah Shenwari helped Afghanistan chase down a modest 90-run target inside 15 overs, bagging three wickets and then scoring 24 not out.
“It is very exciting especially for me and my teammates; we’re in the final for a third time, so we’re all happy,” said Shenwari, who claimed three wickets for 19 runs and featured in a run out as Nepal were restricted to 90 for eight.
“I think we have been doing well in all the departments. I am happy and lucky to be part of the Afghanistan team.”
Shenwari (24 not out), who is one of four players to have claimed a five-for in this tournament, put on a 69-run partnership with Nawroz Mangal (48).
Shenwari was still at the crease when Gulbodin Naib (12 not out) struck a six to seal a seven-wicket victory with 5.4 overs to spare. Nepal’s Avinash Karn (two for 17) was the main wicket-taker.
Elsewhere, the Netherlands secured fifth spot in the tournament after defeating Hong Kong by seven wickets at Abu Dhabi Oval, thanks to a 22-ball 44 from opener Ben Cooper, and Scotland’s Richie Berrington hit an unbeaten 70 to guide his side to a five-wicket victory over Papua New Guinea to earn seventh spot.
Also on Saturday, Nepal will face the loser of the second semi-final in the battle for third position.
Hong Kong and the Netherlands secured the last two qualifying spots for next year’s ICC World Twenty20 finals in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.