Kathmandu, A series of closely contested matches in Kathmandu has seen Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) secure semi-final berths as group winners, while Bahrain edged into the next round on net run rate on Day 3 of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Final Asia 2023. Oman clinched a narrow win over host Nepal, and the UAE dispatched Hong Kong, China with confidence. Meanwhile, Bahrain, despite a loss, slipped through to the semis, squeezing past Hong Kong, China in the standings.
According to International Cricket Council, Oman topped Group A after a sensational finish against Nepal at the TU Cricket Ground, winning by a mere five runs. UAE, on the other hand, showcased a dominant performance to win by 22 runs against Hong Kong, China at the Mulpani Cricket Ground, thereby leading Group B into the semi-finals.
In the high-stakes match between Nepal and Oman, Oman was put into bat and found themselves at a disadvantage early on, with four wickets down in the powerplay. Captain Zeeshan Maqsood’s steady 32 off 26 balls and later contributions from Naseem Khushi and Shakeel Ahmed propelled Oman to a defendable total of 145/9. Nepal’s chase was fraught with setbacks as wickets fell at regular intervals. Despite a late surge of boundaries, Oman’s Bilal Khan’s composed final over ensured his team’s victory, with Nepal falling just short at 140 all out.
The UAE enjoyed a solid start in their match, with a 76-run partnership between Alishan Sharafu and Basil Hameed, the latter scoring an impressive 51 off 29 balls, setting the pace for a total of 176/6. Hong Kong, China’s chase was spirited but faltered in the middle overs, concluding their innings at 154/8. UAE’s bowling attack, featuring Ali Naseer and Zahoor Khan, successfully defended their total, earning them the win and a semi-final spot.
Malaysia, though out of contention for the semis, defeated Singapore in a commanding fashion by 60 runs. Sharvin Muniandy and captain Ahmad Faiz both hit half-centuries, taking Malaysia to a formidable 198/4. Singapore’s promising start was overturned by a stellar bowling performance from Malaysia’s Muhammad Amir, who took five wickets, crippling the Singaporean batting lineup.
The clash between Kuwait and Bahrain held particular significance, with the latter needing a win to stay ahead on net run rate. Bahrain set a total of 158/9, but Kuwait’s Usman Patel’s blistering 64 off 34 balls saw them to victory with 160/6. Despite their loss, Bahrain’s earlier performances in the tournament and their superior net run rate allowed them to progress to the semi-finals.
The tournament now advances to the semi-final stage, with teams poised for intense competition in the quest to claim the T20 World Cup Asia Finals title.