Kenya deprive Nepal of promotion

  • icc wcl division 2
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Kenya deprive Nepal of promotion

Jan 23, 2015-

Nepal’s ambitions to enjoy the luxuries of competitive cricket in Division 1 took a nosedive after succumbing to a five-wicket loss to Kenya in their last and crucial league match of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 in Windhoek, Namibia on Friday.

After the Netherlands defeated Uganda—chasing an 80-run target—inside 6.3 overs, Nepal needed outright victory as the Dutch consolidated their net run-rate.

Gyanendra Malla single-handedly lifted Nepal to 194 all out in 49.5 overs with an unbeaten 91 runs. And for a team that had bundled out all previous four opponents for below 160-run mark, the total appeared safe.

However, the Kenyans not only deprived Nepal of Division 1 promotion but also survived relegation, overhauling the target in just 35 overs with some power-packed batting from three batsmen. Nepal finished third in the points table and will now battle out with Kenya in the third-place playoff.

Hosts Namibia, who hammered Canada by eight wickets in their last league game, finish atop of the standings with eight points to earn promotion along with  the Netherlands. Canada and Uganda were relegated to Division 3.

Nepal began their defence on a high note when Karan KC dismissed opener Narendra Patel (seven). Run out of Nehmiah Odhiambo (two) then reduced them to 13-2 in 2.1 overs. Another opener Alex Obanda and Irfan Karim then shared 76 runs for the third wicket to push Nepal on to back foot. Quick dismissals of Obanda and Collins Obuya (one) then brought Nepal back in the match with the score at 91-4 in 16.5 overs.

But that was as close as Nepal came as Karim and skipper Rakep Patel gave Nepal a day to forget, collecting runs at ease with a century stand that effectively ended Nepal’s qualification hopes. Man-of-the-match Karim made 75 not out off 94 balls in his 103-run stand with Patel.

Karim clobbered eight fours, while Patel played a 51-ball cameo off 56 hitting five fours and two sixes. Basanta Regmi removed Patel when Kenya needed just one run for victory. Sagar Pun also picked up one wicket for Nepal.

Earlier, Nepal’s total was built around the patient knock from middle order mainstay Malla, who posted the highest individual score for his country in List A matches. Malla surpassed his own 86-run record made against Canada during the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand last year.

Nepal’s opening woes continued in the fifth consecutive match when Sagar Pun (12) and Subash Khakurel (two) as well as No 3 Naresh Budhayer lost their wickets cheaply with 18 runs on the board. Budhayer had replaced Aarif Sheikh but departed for a 12-ball duck.

Skipper Paras Khadka and Malla rebuilt the innings with a 48-run stand for the fourth wicket before the Nepali captain lost his wicket to Nehemiah Odhiambo. Khadka made 20 off 46 with two boundaries. Malla added another 44 runs to take Nepal past triple figures but the skipper’s dismissal reduced Nepal to 110-5 in 35.3 overs.

Malla, however, remained patient at the other and completed his half century off 76 balls by scampering for a third run off Rakip Patel. Malla then saw wickets tumbling at the other end and when Karan KC was out in the penultimate ball, he was left stranded on unbeaten 91 off 116 balls.

Malla struck seven boundaries in his marathon knock. Binod Bhandari was Nepal’s next batsman to score in double figures with 23-ball 16.

Published: 24-01-2015 09:22

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