Sports

Nepal lose opening T20 tie against UAE

- ADARSHA DHAKAL, Dubai

Feb 1, 2019-

Sandeep Jora became the first Nepali to score a half century in Twenty20 International debut but his heroics still couldn’t save the team from a 21-run defeat at the hands of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the first of their three-match series on Thursday.

Riding high on confidence following their historic 2-1 ODI series victory—their first ever after achieving the One-Day International (ODI) status last year—Nepal managed to restrict the hosts to 153-6 in 20 overs. It was the same pitch where Nepal had successfully chased 255 runs to win the ODI series. The visitors had a horrible start to their chase and were restricted to 132-7 in 20 overs with Jora’s impressive knock going in vain.

Skipper Paras Khadka promoted himself up the order to open the innings with Pradeep Airee. But the change made not difference as Mohammad Naveed trapped Airee leg before wicket (LBW) in the very first ball. Khadka did most of the scoring in a 31-run partnership for the second wicket with Gyanendra Mall (seven), who nicked a catch to Ghulam Shabber off Sultan Ahmed.

Nepal then lost Dipendra Singh Airee (four) and Khadka was next to go after scoring a run-a-ball 25 with four hits to the fence. Rohit Kumar Paudel (four) also fell cheaply leaving Nepal reeling at 56-5 inside 10 overs. Jora halted the slide putting on 33 runs for the sixth wicket with Karan KC (four), who offered a simple return catch to Ahmed.

After the loss of key wickets early on the target looked somewhat beyond Nepal’s reach but Jora pushed the team to a respectable total adding another 39 runs for the seventh wicket with Sompal Kami. Jora completed his half century off 41 deliveries. Jora remained unbeaten on 53, his 46-ball knock included three fours and a six. Kami was Nepal’s second best scorer with 27 off 19 balls. He slammed a six and a boundary. Mohammad Naveed, Ahmed and Zahoor Khan took two wickets each for the UAE.

Nepal skipper Khadka said it was good to get another big performance from a young boy. “Its good because young boys are giving a good competition for selection. This is the beginning. I just hope young guys like Sandeep keep performing because we have a long way to go,” the captain added.

Earlier, leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane was introduced early in the second over and proved why he is one of the most sought after cricketers in professional leagues across the world enticing Asfaq Ahmed (two) for a pull only to hand Basanta Regmi a simple catch at the square leg.

Sompal Kami then removed Ghulam Shabber (eight) in his second over before Basanta Regmi’s dismissal of CP Rizwan (22) reduced UAE to 43-3 in 6.4 overs. Anwar, who had struck 87 against Nepal in the third and deciding ODI between the two teams but for a losing cause, rebuilt the innings with a 61-run stand for the fourth wicket with Mohammad Usman.

Lamichhane broke the partnership getting rid of Usman, who chipped in a 24-ball 30 with two sixes and a four. Anwar completed his half century smashing debutant Avinash Bohora for a six in just 36 balls. Bohora, however, had his revenge with his first international wicket clean bowling Anwar. The veteran UAE batsman struck five fours and two sixes in a 38-ball 59.

UAE collected some quick runs in the middle stages of their innings but managed just 18 runs from the last three. Lamichhane and Regmi, who came into the match after being rested for the last two ODIs of the preceding series, were pick of the Nepali bowlers taking two wickets apiece giving away just 48 runs in their collective eight overs. Karan KC went wicketless and was hammered for 43 runs in four overs. Mohammad Boota (20 not out) also reached double figures for UAE.

The second match of the T20 series is on Friday.

Jora youngest with T20I half century

Just five days after Rohit Kumar Paudel became the youngest batsman with One-Day International (ODI) half century, Nepal’s Sundeep Jora entered the record books to become the youngest to reach that milestone in the Twenty20 format at 17 years and 103 days.

Jora on Thursday scored a 46-ball 53 against the UAE in the first of their three-match Twenty20 International Series. Jora had already signalled his arrival to Nepali cricket playing with cool nerves in the third and deciding ODI which Nepal won by four wickets and sealed their maiden series victory. For Jora, it has been a fairytale journey breaking into the national fold having played for the U-19 side in the ACC U-19 Asia Cup just four months ago in Malaysia.

A fine performance in the recent domestic Twenty20 franchise leagues were the reason for a pint-sized Jora, who hails from country’s Far West, to get a spot in the senior side. Jora, however, had mixed feelings after the match. “I am happy that I managed to score a half century in debut but at the same time the feeling is not good after losing the game,” said Jora.

Jora also became Nepal’s only debutant so far to score a half century and make highest score in a Twenty20 International debut. He left behind current national team vice-captain Gyanendra Malla, who had scored 48 runs against Hong Kong during the 2014 ICC World Twenty20.

On January 26, Rohit had become the world’s youngest batsman with a half century at 16 years and 146 days. Paudel had scored half century in the second ODI that broke the previous records held by cricket legends Sachin Tendulkar of India and Shahid Afridi of Pakistan. (PR)

Summary

UAE 153-6 in 20 overs (S Anwar 59, M Usman 30; B Regmi 2-23, S Lamichhane 2-25) beat Nepal 132-7 in 20 overs (S Jora 53*, S Kami 27, P Khadka 25; Z Khan 2-17, M Naveed 2-19) by 21 runs

Man-of-the-match: S Anwar (UAE)

Published: 01-02-2019 09:02

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