Maiden Kenya win keeps Nepal’s hopes afloat

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Mar 14, 2017-Nepal kept alive their hopes of a berth in the qualifying tournament for the 2019 World Cup with a seven-wicket victory over Kenya in the ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) match at the TU Stadium on Monday.

Skipper Gyanendra Malla and Dipendra Singh Airee struck entertaining half centuries as the hosts shrugged off the five-wicket loss in the rain-interrupted match on Saturday to a convincing victory in their second outing. Set 156 runs for victory, Nepal replied with 160 in 30.2 overs.

Malla, standing in for injured Paras Khadka who is recovering from an abdomen surgery which he underwent in mid-February, scored an unbeaten 64 off 93 balls. Airee, who made senior international debut on Saturday, slammed 62 off 66 balls to set the tone for a quick run chase. Having snared four wickets with his part-time spin to restrict Kenya to 155 in 46.1 overs, Sharad Vesawkar returned with the bat to steer Nepal home with a four and a six off the same over of Shem Ngocha.

After Monday’s result, Nepal are placed sixth with 8 points in the eight-team standings, while Kenya are in fifth position with 10 points. The Netherlands lead the standings with 16 points after five rounds.

The WCLC is the gateway to the 50-over 2019 World Cup, with top four teams advancing to the Qualifiers in 2018. The other four teams will be relegated to Division 2. Nepal will play Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates in the next two rounds.

Malla credited team work for the victory—their first against the opponents in fourth attempt in the 50-over game.  On the chance of finishing in top four, Malla said: “We are still in with a chance but we are now in a must-win situation in all four games of the next two rounds,” he said.

Kenya coach Thomas Odoyo commended the home team’s all-round performance in the match.

“They bowled and batted really well,” Odoyo noted, ruing his side’s failure with the bat, leaving the bowlers with a difficult task. “Out batting did not work and there was no real partnership as we kept losing wickets at regular intervals.”

Published: 14-03-2017 08:37

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