Nepal started the ICC World Cricket League Division II tournament with a thrilling one wicket victory against Namibia in Windhoek on Thursday.
It was another disappointing batting performance by Nepal but a patient batting by Sharad Bheswakar and some late hitting by Basanta Regmi ensured they reach the required 139 runs target in the last over.
Winning the toss and electing to field first, Nepali bowlers Sandip Lamichhane and Sompal Kami shone as Nepal restricted Namibia to a mere 138 runs total in the 35th over.
Nepal's poor batting performance was heavily scrutinised before the tournament and at one point the team was staring at another loss due to poor batting when wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals. Opener Gyanendra Malla (15) and skipper Paras Khadka (19) were dismissed without much contribution and it was a slow-scoring Bheswakar who kept Nepal in the match. Bheswakar played 67 balls for his 29 before he was caught in the 38th over. Bheswakar's wicket followed by other cheap dismissals left the team with a big task of chasing a moderate total against their opponent whom they have defeated in the last three outings.
But things turned around after a brief rain delay and in came spinner Basanta Regmi with Nepal still requiring 35 runs from 48 balls with just two wickets in hand. Regmi started slow but as the game wore on started hitting big to take the team past the 139 runs target with four balls remaining.
Spinner Lamichhane, who was snapped up by Delhi Daredevils in the recent IPL auction for IRs 2 million, was named Man-of-the-Match for his four wickets display.
Top-two finish in this tournament will secure a spot in March’s ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers and subsequently opening up opportunities to become one-day international team and participate in the elite competitions for non-Test playing countries. But to enjoy the luxuries that Division 2 might offer, Nepal must get through Division 2 that also includes Kenya, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman and Canada.Published: 2018-02-08 21:31:07