Nepal start with 116-run loss
- ICC world cup qualifiers
- Paras Khadka’s men score 264-8 after Sikandar Raza, Brendan Taylor slam tons to post 380-6 for Zimbabwe
Mar 5, 2018-Nepal’s first ever clash with the Test-playing nation ended in a 116-run defeat against Zimbabwe during their ICC World Cup Qualifiers at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, on Sunday.
Zimbabwe rode on a scintillating centuries from Sikandar Raza and Brendan Taylor to post a mammoth 380-6 in 50 overs. Despite half centuries from Sharad Vesawkar and Aarif Sheikh and meaningful contributions from skipper Paras Khadka (40) and Gyanendra Malla (32), Nepal could only reply with 264-8 in 50 overs in their Group ‘B’ game. The total Zimbabwe posted was the biggest that Nepal have conceded in their history of their 50-over cricket. Previously Nepal had conceded 366-6 to USA during the World Cricket League Division 3 in 2013.
The top two teams from the 10-nation Qualifier will book their berths for next year’s World Cup in England. Top three teams from each of the two pools advance to the Super Six round where three slots as an ODI nation are up for grabs. The top three Associate teams—barring Ireland, Afghanistan, West Indies and Zimbabwe who are Full ICC members—will join World Cricket League Championship winners the Netherlands in earning ODI status until 2022.
Zimbabwe and the West Indies failed to make the direct entry to the World Cup having failed to make the top seven in the ICC ODI rankings by the cut off date of September 30 last year. The new structure meant only the top seven teams and the hosts earned direct entry to the World Cup leaving the likes of the fallen giants the West Indies and Zimbabwe to fight their way into the main draw via Qualifier.
On the field on Sunday, Nepal lost opener Dilip Nath (2) early and skipper Khadka stepped in to clobber eight fours in his 37-ball knock to up the ante. Dipendra Singh Airee (23) joined Malla and scored some quick runs before Vesawkar, Sheikh and Rohit Kumar Paudel (30) all contributed with the bat. But the total was always a big ask for Nepal and all they could do was make look the defeat more respectable. Vesawkar slammed six fours and a six in his 48-ball 52, while Sheikh hit five boundaries in his 59-ball 50. Man-of-the-match Raza returned to take three wickets and Brian Vitori took two for Zimbabwe.
Earlier, a blistering 77-run opening wicket stand from openers Solomon Mire and Cephas Zhuwao set up the foundation for a big Zimbabwe total. Mire struck 52 off 41 balls, his innings studded with five fours and three sixes. Zhuwao was even more aggressive, hitting four sixes and three fours in his 23-ball 41. Leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane gave Nepal a brief respite trapping Zhuwao leg before wicket in 7.1 over.
Another left-arm spinner Basanta Regmi dismissed H Masakadza (17) and Mire in quick succession but Zimbabwe were already heading for a big score at 113-3 by the 15th over. Craig Ervine (34) then joined Taylor to put on 87-run partnership for the fourth wicket to set the stage for a massive Zimbabwe total.
By the time Sompal Kami dismissed both Raza and Taylor the damage had already been done. Tayor had already scored a half century when Raza joined him in the middle and spared none of the Nepali bowlers. The fact that Raza completed his century ahead of Taylor shows the kind of whirlwind knock he came up with. Taylor reached the 100-run milestone a ball after Raza scored his ton in the 48th over. Raza scored 123 from just 66 balls with nine sixes and seven fours, while Taylor slammed 100 with seven hits to the fence and a six in his 91-ball knock.
Kami and Regmi took two wickets each, while debutant Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi and Lamichhane claimed one each for Nepal. Kami also went into the record books for an unwanted record of having conceded a maximum runs in a 50-over game for Nepal. He conceded 82 runs from his eight overs eclipsing the previous worst from spinner Shakti Gauchan, who bled 81-1 off nine overs against USA during the WCL Division 3 match in 2013.
Nepal play Scotland on Thursday before taking on Afghanistan on March 10 and Hong Kong on March 12. Scotland stunned Afghanistan by seven wickets on Sunday.
Zimbabwe 380-6 (S Raza 123, B Taylor 100; B Regmi 2-69, S Kami
2-82) beat Nepal 264-8 (S Vesakwar 52, A Sheikh 50; S Raza 3-48, B Vitori 2-46) by 116 runs
Man-of-the-match: S Raza
Published: 05-03-2018 09:26