Skip to Content Facebook Feature Image

Bangladesh beats Nepal to claim the last Super 8 place at the T20 World Cup, Pakistan bows out.

Sport

Bangladesh beats Nepal to claim the last Super 8 place at the T20 World Cup, Pakistan bows out.
Sport

Sport

Bangladesh beats Nepal to claim the last Super 8 place at the T20 World Cup, Pakistan bows out.

2024-06-17 12:24 Last Updated At:12:31

KINGSTOWN, Saint Vincent (AP) — Tanzim Hasan Sakib and Mustafizur Rahman took seven wickets between them as Bangladesh beat Nepal by 21 runs Sunday to claim the last Super Eight place at the Twenty20 cricket World Cup.

Bangladesh now will play with India, Afghanistan and Australia in one Super Eight group while the United States, England, the West Indies and South Africa will play in the other. The Super Eight stage starts on Wednesday.

More Images
Sri Lanka's Kamindu Mendis bats against the Netherlands during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

KINGSTOWN, Saint Vincent (AP) — Tanzim Hasan Sakib and Mustafizur Rahman took seven wickets between them as Bangladesh beat Nepal by 21 runs Sunday to claim the last Super Eight place at the Twenty20 cricket World Cup.

Michael Levitt of the Netherlands bats against Sri Lanka during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Michael Levitt of the Netherlands bats against Sri Lanka during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Sri Lanka's Kusal Mendis right celebrates with teammates after stumping Michael Levitt of the Netherlands during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Sri Lanka's Kusal Mendis right celebrates with teammates after stumping Michael Levitt of the Netherlands during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Max O'Dowd of the Netherlands walks off the field, caught by Sri Lanka's Kamindu Mendis, during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Max O'Dowd of the Netherlands walks off the field, caught by Sri Lanka's Kamindu Mendis, during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Sri Lanka's Dhananjaya De Silva bats and captain Scott Edwards of the Netherlands keeps wicket during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Sri Lanka's Dhananjaya De Silva bats and captain Scott Edwards of the Netherlands keeps wicket during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Captain Scott Edwards of the Netherlands, right, celebrates with Paul van Meekeren. Left, the dismissal of Sri Lanka's Kamindu Mendis during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Captain Scott Edwards of the Netherlands, right, celebrates with Paul van Meekeren. Left, the dismissal of Sri Lanka's Kamindu Mendis during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Sri Lanka's Charith Asalanka hits a boundary during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match against the Netherlands at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Sri Lanka's Charith Asalanka hits a boundary during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match against the Netherlands at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Ireland's Gareth Delany bats during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Ireland's Gareth Delany bats during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi, center, without a cap, celebrates with teammates the wicket of Ireland's Lorcan Tucker during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi, center, without a cap, celebrates with teammates the wicket of Ireland's Lorcan Tucker during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi celebrates the wicket of Ireland's Andrew Balbirnie during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi celebrates the wicket of Ireland's Andrew Balbirnie during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Ireland's Gareth Delany jumps to stop unsuccessfully a six by Pakistan's Abbas Afridi during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Ireland's Gareth Delany jumps to stop unsuccessfully a six by Pakistan's Abbas Afridi during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Abbas Afridi, right, moves to touch gloves with captain Babar Azam as they bat during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Abbas Afridi, right, moves to touch gloves with captain Babar Azam as they bat during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Ireland's Barry McCarthy, center, celebrates the wicket of Pakistan's Shadab Khan during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Ireland's Barry McCarthy, center, celebrates the wicket of Pakistan's Shadab Khan during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Ireland's captain Paul Stirling, left, congratulates Pakistan's captain Babar Azam after Pakistan won the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match against Ireland at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Ireland's captain Paul Stirling, left, congratulates Pakistan's captain Babar Azam after Pakistan won the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match against Ireland at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi plays a shot during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi plays a shot during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi celebrates the wicket of Ireland's Andrew Balbirnie during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi celebrates the wicket of Ireland's Andrew Balbirnie during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's captain Babar Azam signs a small bat before the beginning of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's captain Babar Azam signs a small bat before the beginning of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's captain Babar Azam waits for the coin toss before the beginning of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's captain Babar Azam waits for the coin toss before the beginning of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

In a thrilling, low-scoring match, Bangladesh’s qualifying hopes looked to be in the balance when it was bowled out for 106 in 19.2 overs after losing the toss.

But Tanzim (4-7) bowled his four overs consecutively, leaving Nepal’s innings in disarray at 26-5 after the seventh over. Nepal couldn’t recover and eventually was bowled out for 85 in the last over on a treacherous pitch at Kingstown, St Vincent.

“We just wanted to keep things very simple and bowl in good areas,” Tanzim said. “We didn’t panic, we knew could defend this score and we were very confident about that.”

The pitch at the Arnos Vale Stadium provided sharp turn and bounce for the Nepal spinners who shared six wickets in the Bangladesh innings. Leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichanne took 2-17 to reach 100 wickets in T20 internationals.

Conditions also assisted the seamers with swing and often spiteful bounce. Sompal Kami took 2-10 from his three overs for Nepal, including a wicket for the first ball of the match.

But the tough conditions cut both ways. While Nepal took advantage of them to dismiss Bangaldesh cheaply, Bangladesh did the same and to greater effect.

The match provided a catalogue of thrills from the moment Sompal dismissed Tanzid Hasan with the very first ball. For no apparent reason Tanzid decided to charge the bowler who fired the ball hard into the pitch. Tanzid’s shot came too late and he only managed to spar the ball back to the bowler.

Nepal let its control slip at the end of the Bangladesh innings when Mustafizur and Taskin Ahmed put on 18 for the 10th wicket including 11 from the 19th over.

Tanzim was superb at the top of the Nepal innings, giving Bangladesh the start it needed. He was fired up, ran in hard, created disconcerting bounce and swung the ball.

He bowled Bhurtel with his second ball of the match and dismissed Anil Sah two balls later. Tanzim clashed with Paudel at one point, causing the umpires to caution the Bangladesh captain. But Tanzim had the final say and dismissed Paudel to leave Nepal 20-3 in the fifth over.

Aasif Sheikh fell to Mustafizur in the sixth over, after which Nepal was 24-4.

Nepal was 42-5 after 10 overs and its hopes of ending the tournament with a win were revived by a 50 partnership for the sixth wicket between Kushal Malla (27) and Airee (25).

But the veteran Mustafizur (3-7) conceded only one run and dismissed Malla in the 17th over, then bowled a wicket maiden, removing Airee (25) in the 19th over to help seal the match. Nepal needed 22 from the last over and lost its last two wickets to the first two balls.

“I think as a bowling unit we bowled really well but as a batting unit I think we could have done better, especially the top-order batsmen,” Paudel said. “Bangladesh bowled really well with the new ball.”

Earlier, Pakistan needed allrounder Shaheen Shah Afridi to show off his bowling and batting skills in a three-wicket consolation win over Ireland at Lauderhill, Florida.

Afridi destroyed Ireland’s top-order batters with 3-22 and then smashed a couple of sixes in his unbeaten 13 off five balls as he guided Pakistan to a scrappy 111-7 in 18.5 overs to win its last Group A game. Captain Babar Azam was 32 not out and helplessly watched another batting collapse before Afridi’s little cameo came to Pakistan’s rescue.

After Pakistan won the toss and chose to bowl first, Afridi’s twin-wicket burst in the opening over had Ireland reeling at only 2 runs for the loss of two wickets. Ireland lost another batter to make it 4-3, and was then 15-4 off the first three overs.

Left-arm spinner Imad Wasim grabbed 3-8 in four overs to restrict Ireland to 106-9 on a lively wicket which had been under cover for most of the last week because of heavy rain in Florida, which had prevented the previous three games at the tournament venue.

“We lost back-to-back wickets, but managed to get over the line in the end,” Babar said. “We’ve got to go home, chat and see where we lacked and then come back. We couldn’t finish off close games… we weren’t good as a team.”

Pakistan, which failed to chase down a run-a-ball target against rival India and lost to the U.S. in a major upset, nearly messed up against a spirited Ireland bowling attack. At 52-2 after eight overs, it looked comfortable before Barry McCarthy (3-15) and Curtis Campher (2-24) sliced through the brittle middle-order and Pakistan slipped to 62-6 in 11 overs.

Abbas Afridi, playing his first game in the tournament, made 17 off 21 balls before he too holed out with 12 needed but Afridi ensured Pakistan didn’t lose.

Ireland finished last in its group with three defeats and its solitary point coming against the U.S. in a rain-abandoned game at the same venue. Pakistan finished third with four points behind qualifiers India and the United States.

Later, Sri Lanka ended its disappointing campaign with an 83-run win over the Netherlands in the final match in Group D at Gros Islet, St. Lucia.

The Netherlands came into the match with everything to play for but ended with nothing. It needed Nepal to beat Bangladesh to have a chance of reaching the Super Eight stage. That hope faded when Bangladesh beat Nepal by 21 runs.

“We’ll sit down and reflect after the tournament, when we get back to the Netherlands and see which areas we’ve got to be better at to progress in these sort of tournaments,” Netherlands captain Scott Edwards said.

Sri Lanka lost its first two matches but ended on a high note Sunday.

It made an imposing 201-6 batting first, led by Charith Asalanka who made 46 from 21 balls and Kusal Mendis who scored 46 from 29. Dhanajaya de Silva made 34 and Angelo Mathews an unbeaten 30 from 15 deliveries.

In reply, the Netherlands was 47-2 after the six-over power play. But it struggled through the middle overs against tight bowling and finally was bowled out for 118 in the 17th over.

“Especially after losing the first two games, this is win is very healthy for us,” Sri Lanka captain Wanindu Hasaranga said.

AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket

Sri Lanka's Kamindu Mendis bats against the Netherlands during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Sri Lanka's Kamindu Mendis bats against the Netherlands during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Michael Levitt of the Netherlands bats against Sri Lanka during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Michael Levitt of the Netherlands bats against Sri Lanka during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Sri Lanka's Kusal Mendis right celebrates with teammates after stumping Michael Levitt of the Netherlands during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Sri Lanka's Kusal Mendis right celebrates with teammates after stumping Michael Levitt of the Netherlands during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Max O'Dowd of the Netherlands walks off the field, caught by Sri Lanka's Kamindu Mendis, during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Max O'Dowd of the Netherlands walks off the field, caught by Sri Lanka's Kamindu Mendis, during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Sri Lanka's Dhananjaya De Silva bats and captain Scott Edwards of the Netherlands keeps wicket during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Sri Lanka's Dhananjaya De Silva bats and captain Scott Edwards of the Netherlands keeps wicket during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Captain Scott Edwards of the Netherlands, right, celebrates with Paul van Meekeren. Left, the dismissal of Sri Lanka's Kamindu Mendis during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Captain Scott Edwards of the Netherlands, right, celebrates with Paul van Meekeren. Left, the dismissal of Sri Lanka's Kamindu Mendis during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Sri Lanka's Charith Asalanka hits a boundary during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match against the Netherlands at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Sri Lanka's Charith Asalanka hits a boundary during an ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match against the Netherlands at Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Ireland's Gareth Delany bats during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Ireland's Gareth Delany bats during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi, center, without a cap, celebrates with teammates the wicket of Ireland's Lorcan Tucker during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi, center, without a cap, celebrates with teammates the wicket of Ireland's Lorcan Tucker during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi celebrates the wicket of Ireland's Andrew Balbirnie during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi celebrates the wicket of Ireland's Andrew Balbirnie during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Ireland's Gareth Delany jumps to stop unsuccessfully a six by Pakistan's Abbas Afridi during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Ireland's Gareth Delany jumps to stop unsuccessfully a six by Pakistan's Abbas Afridi during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Abbas Afridi, right, moves to touch gloves with captain Babar Azam as they bat during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Abbas Afridi, right, moves to touch gloves with captain Babar Azam as they bat during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Ireland's Barry McCarthy, center, celebrates the wicket of Pakistan's Shadab Khan during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Ireland's Barry McCarthy, center, celebrates the wicket of Pakistan's Shadab Khan during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Ireland's captain Paul Stirling, left, congratulates Pakistan's captain Babar Azam after Pakistan won the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match against Ireland at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Ireland's captain Paul Stirling, left, congratulates Pakistan's captain Babar Azam after Pakistan won the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match against Ireland at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi plays a shot during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi plays a shot during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi celebrates the wicket of Ireland's Andrew Balbirnie during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi celebrates the wicket of Ireland's Andrew Balbirnie during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's captain Babar Azam signs a small bat before the beginning of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's captain Babar Azam signs a small bat before the beginning of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's captain Babar Azam waits for the coin toss before the beginning of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pakistan's captain Babar Azam waits for the coin toss before the beginning of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — This year, Ukraine’s largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Instead, beloved local artists graced the stage this past weekend at the Atlas Festival — the first since Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022 — for a smaller but still ebullient crowd. The stage was erected in a shopping mall parking lot, the only option with a shelter large enough to contain the 25,000 people expected in the event of an air raid.

Carefree youth danced, romanced and sang along, rubbing shoulders with hardened military commanders as famous singers who crooned lyrics imbued with national pride. Music was the main goal, but so was shattering the illusion that the capital is invulnerable to the bloody battles hundreds of miles away.

“Such kind of festivals can’t be separated from the life of the country. The country is at war. The core issues here should relate to the war,” said Vsevolod Kozhemyako, a businessman and one of the founders of the 13th “Khartia” Brigade, now a part of Ukraine’s National Guard and defending the frontline in Kharkiv.

“People who are still young and who don’t join (the fight) should understand that they cannot live in a bubble,” he said.

And yet, a bubble is precisely how it feels to be in Kyiv, as the war approaches its third year. While Ukrainian soldiers are killed and wounded every day along the 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) frontline in the east, the capital is a contrast with its busy bars and clubs.

Every so often, Kyiv comes face to face with the war. Two weeks ago, a barrage of Russian missiles destroyed a children’s hospital and a private clinic, in one of the deadliest attacks since the full-scale invasion. Residents have grappled with power cuts caused by Moscow’s targeted destruction of Ukrainian energy generation at the height of a summer heat wave.

In every corner of the music festival, visitors were confronted with the inescapable reality that theirs is a country trapped in a bloody war of attrition. Festival organizers hoped to raise $2.2 million (2 million euros) to help soldiers purchase supplies for the front line.

In the mall’s basement parking lot, various military units, from Khartia to the 3rd Assault, offered interactive games to lure donations and possible recruits. A first-person shooter game offered visitors a chance to improve target practice by gunning down shadowy virtual infantrymen. In another corner, medics brandished severed plastic limbs and offered emergency medical training.

The festival concluded Sunday with a much-anticipated performance from Serhii Zhadan and his band Zhadan and Dogs. Zhadan, a celebrated artist dubbed the poet of the Donbas, recently joined Khartia.

“It’s just a small break, an opportunity to take a breath,” said Zhadan, minutes before he took to the stage for a roaring crowd. “The most important things, they are happening over there, at the frontline.”

On stage, Zhadan started with one of his most beloved songs “Malvi” or “Mallow.” The crowd sang along, word for word. “But what can you do with my hot blood,” they chanted. “Who will come at us.”

18-year old Viktoriia Khalis was excited to see his performance. She had been to the Atlas festival once before in 2021. The difference is stark, she said.

“The main thing that has changed, unfortunately, now the festival is connected with donations,” she said. But she also felt more connected to her homeland. “I feel this entire crowd is related to me. I feel unity.”

She was scared there would be another Russian air attack — a music festival with thousands of attendees would be a prime target — but said she couldn’t miss a chance to see her favorite artists.

For Nadiia Dorofeeva, one of Ukraine’s most famous singers, every concert feels different. “Before, when I entered a stage I was thinking only about if I looked good, sang well and if the people got what they came for. But now, I dream of having no air alarms, I am seeing how people cry at my concerts.”

One of Dorofeeva’s songs, “WhatsApp,” is about a girl waiting for her beloved to return from war. “She washed the phone with tears/Like rainy glass,” often moves listeners to tears.

Among the attendees was Lt. Gen. Serhii Naiev, an assistant deputy chief in Ukraine’s General Staff.

“There are well-known artists on stage, they are performing their concerts and there are a lot of Ukrainians around who are donating their money, much-needed money for the armed forces of Ukraine,” he said.

“We understand that our partners are supporting us, but we also understand that we could do a lot by ourselves, to be stronger,” he said.

Follow AP's coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

People enjoy a concert at the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

People enjoy a concert at the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

People enjoy a concert at the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

People enjoy a concert at the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

Serhii Zhadan, well-known Ukrainian writer and poet, leader of music band Zhadan and Dogs, performs at the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

Serhii Zhadan, well-known Ukrainian writer and poet, leader of music band Zhadan and Dogs, performs at the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

People with painted faces go to the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

People with painted faces go to the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

People enjoy a concert at the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

People enjoy a concert at the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

People dance waiting for the start of the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

People dance waiting for the start of the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

Serhii Zhadan, well-known Ukrainian writer and poet, leader of music band Zhadan and Dogs, performs at the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

Serhii Zhadan, well-known Ukrainian writer and poet, leader of music band Zhadan and Dogs, performs at the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

People enjoy a concert at the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

People enjoy a concert at the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

People enjoy a concert at the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

People enjoy a concert at the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

People enjoy a concert at the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

People enjoy a concert at the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 21, 2024. This year, Ukraine's largest music festival struck a different chord. Gone were the international headliners, the massive performance halls and the hundreds of thousands of visitors. (AP Photo/Anton Shtuka)

Recommended Articles