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Nepal prove too strong for Norway

   Nepal proved much too    strong for Norway at    Farmers Field on Monday,    and their 108-run victory    virtually guaranteed them    a place in Friday’s    semi-   finals. But at one    stage,    with the    Nepalese    on    73 for five,    it seemed    as if Norway    might bowl    themselves    into a    winning    position    against one of the    fancied sides in the    tournament.The start was    delayed for    three-  quarters of an    hour after    more heavy    overnight    rain had soaked the    outfield and seepage had    created a wet spot at one    end of the pitch, and    Norwegian skipper Shahid    Ahmed gave his side an    early advantage by winning the toss and inviting Nepal to bat. It was a good toss to win, and Ahmed Bhatti soon showed that he had learned something from Sunday’s experience against the USA by testing the Nepalese openers with some aggressive seam bowling. It was his partner Aamir Waheed who achieved the initial breakthrough, however, when Paresh Lohani edged to Syed Munawar Ahmed, the first of five catches for the Norwegian keeper, when the total was 9. Bhatti then removed Vesawkar, and Nepal were 18 for two. Mahesh Chhetri and Shakti Gauchan restored their side’s fortunes somewhat with a stand of 31, but with Zeeshan Ali getting rid of Gauchan, Waheed dismissing Chhetri, and then Bhatti returning to account for Gyanendra Malla, Nepal were in some trouble. Paras Khadka was now joined by Mahaboob Alam, however, and the man who had made history on Sunday by taking all ten wickets against Mozambique set about proving his batting’s value to his side. He and Khadka added 40 for the sixth wicket, and after Khadka gave a simple return catch to Majid Zia Butt, having made 23 from 32 balls, and Basant Regmi soon followed, Alam and skipper Binod Das put on a further 40 for the eighth. Alam steadily made his way to his half-century, making it off 71 balls with five boundaries, but two balls later he became Butt’s third victim, lofting a drive to Abdul Hadi trying to increase the tempo. Das stayed to the end, making 32 off 53 balls, and Nepal were all out for 204 two balls before the scheduled close. Butt finished with three for 23, and Zeeshan Ali with three for 45. Alam and Das began with miserly spells against the Norwegian openers, only seven runs coming off the bat in the first ten overs, and both Zaheer Ashiq and Sameer Sachdev being trapped leg-before by Alam in the process. The scoring rate did not pick up significantly when Dhirendra Bahadur and Khadka entered the attack, and with each bowler claiming two wickets Norway were reduced to 46 for six by the end of the 26th over. Abdul Hadi and Adeel Ibrar survived for ten overs, adding 22 for the seventh wicket, but by this time the match was effectively over. Spinners Sanjam and Basant Regmi were equally economical, and the fact that Norway eventually reached 96 before they were dismissed in the 47th over was in large measure due to some effective hitting from Ahmed Bhatti, who belted two sixes in making an 18-ball, not-out 15.
Alam won the Man of the Match award for the second day running, his half-century having been the decisive feature of the game