Nepal win, in hunt for ODI status

  • Defeat Hong Kong by five wickets
  • Paudel, Kami star with 89-run stand
  • To play against PNG in playoffs
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Mar 13, 2018-Young Rohit Kumar Paudel forged a match-winning partnership with Sompal Kami to hand Nepal victory over Hong Kong in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers to keep alive their hopes of earning the one-day international (ODI) status.

Needing a win by an improbable huge margin, Nepal bundled out Hong Kong for a below-par 153 runs in 48.2 overs. To reach the Super Six, Nepal needed to finish off the game inside six overs and at one stage it looked like they were once again succumbing to Hong Kong at 66-5 in 20 overs. But Paudel shared 89 runs for the sixth wicket with Kami as Nepal overcame the target in 40.4 overs.

Nepal finished in fourth place in Group ‘B’ with two points denying Hong Kong a place in the Super Six. The victory ultimately benefited Afghanistan who despite

losing their first three matches made it through at the expense of Nepal and Hong Kong on net run-rate after all three teams were tied on two points each. Zimbabwe finished on top of the standings on net run-rate after their match against Scotland, also on Monday, ended in a tie and the two teams were tied on seven points.

With the tournament giving ODI status to three highly-ranked Associate teams, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have already achieved that. Nepal will now fancy their chances to become an ODI nation by beating Papua New Guinea in the seventh place playoff semi-final on Thursday. Netherlands, who are already an ODI nation, will meet Hong Kong in the other semi-final. If Nepal and Netherlands both win their matches, the former will become an ODI nation.

In the match at the Bulawayo Athletic Club, Nepal replied perfectly in chase of the low total after Anil Sah and Gyanendra Malla (11) scored 41 runs for the first wicket. But once Aizaz Khan dismissed Sah, Nepal went on to lose five wickets for just 25 runs. Malla, skipper Paras Khadka (11), Aarif Sheikh (two) and Dipendra Singh Airee (12) fell cheaply.

Sah struck five boundaries in his 36-ball 26, his first score in double figures in three List ‘A’ appearance for the team. Paudel, who had played a key role in defeating Kenya in the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 in Namibia last month following an 84-run seventh wicket stand with Sheikh, took a cautious approach as he came to crease.

It was Kami who kept the scoreboard ticking before Paudel gave the late lift to kill off the game. Man-of-the-match Paudel made 48 off 86 and Kami scored 37 from 40. Both batsmen hit five boundaries each. Aizaz and Ehsan Khan took two wickets each for Hong Kong.

Hong Kong had a modest start scoring freely when skipper Babar Hayat joined opener Nizakat Khan after Karan KC removed his partner Christopher Carter (nine) in the seventh over. Two quick wickets of their middle order mainstay then left them to struggle throughout the innings. Kami struck first with the dismissal of Hayat (20) and leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane removed tournament’s consistent batsman Anshuman Rath (one) in the next over.

After Lamichhane and Basanta Regmi tightened the screw in the middle overs, Hong Kong were reeling at 110-8 in the 34th over. But Ehsan Khan (21) and Ehsan Nawaj (13) offered a late resistance with 32-run ninth wicket stand. Lamichhane returned with miserly figures of 3-17 from 10 overs and Regmi took 2-20 from 10 overs. Both bowlers had four maiden overs each. KC returned with 2-35 from 8.2 overs.

Published: 13-03-2018 09:35

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