Nepal earn maiden victory

  • world cricket league championship
- Post Report, Kathmandu
Beat Namibia by five wicketsClimb to the sixth spot in standings

Apr 17, 2016-Nepal defeated Namibia by five wickets for their maiden victory in the ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) on Saturday. For the Nepali cricketers, it was a double delight, as they achieved the feat in front of a home crowd at TU cricket ground in Kirtipur. 

In an eight-team tournament that offers 2018 ICC World Cup Qualifiers spot to the top four teams, the first victory lifted Nepal to the sixth position from eighth on net run-rate after being tied on two points with Namibia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Nepal will take on Namibia once again on Monday where another victory can push them to the fifth position. 

Nepal had lost all their previous four matches—two each against Scotland and Papua New Guinea (PNG)—that had brought them down to bottom.

On Saturday, Nepal restricted Namibia to 195-9 in 50 overs before replying with 197-5 in 47.1 overs. 

After opting to bat, Namibia’s top five could not capitalise on their starts, as captain Stephan Baard (18) fell in the third over followed by his opening partner Zane Green (14) in the seventh over. Basant Regmi’s quick strikes in the middle overs triggered a collapse and Namibia lost three wickets for seven runs and were faltering at 109 for 6. Riding on Sarel Burger’s 77-ball 38 Namibia crossed 150. But Regmi came back in the end overs to remove Burger. A lower-order cameo from JJ Smit (26 off 22) helped Namibia post 195 for 9 in 50 overs.

In reply, Nepal made a promising start with a 42-run opening stand, but openers Gyanendra Malla and Naresh Budayair fell in successive overs. In 32.4 overs, Nepal were in a precarious position at 113-5, but Sharad Vesawkar and Binod Bhandari put on an unbroken match-winning partnership of 84 runs from 87 balls. Vesawkar held the innings with a composed 50 off 99 balls, while Bhandari was unbeaten on 40 from 49 balls. Skipper Paras Khadka hit two fours and a six in his 21 before he was bowled by Burger. 

When Rajesh Pulami was dismissed, Nepal needed 82 with five wickets in hand. But Namibia were denied by the Vesawkar-Binod Bhandari’s unbeaten 84-run stand that saw them home with 17 balls to spare.

Nepal skipper Khadka said he wanted his side to maintain the winning momentum. “It’s good to register our first victory in the tournament. Such is the format of the WCLC that we have to play two matches in every two or three months where we cannot afford to make mistakes,” said skipper Khadka. “We now need to make sure this winning momentum continues because the upcoming results will determine the future of Nepali cricket.” 

The WCLC is a two-year 50-over home and away tournaments for the top eight non-Test playing ICC teams who face each other twice under the round-robin league format. 

After the match against Namibia, Nepal will travel to the Netherlands, who lead the table with 10 points from six matches, in the fourth round fixtures. Nepal are also hosting Kenya and will play an away match against Hong Kong, while their match against the UAE will be held at a neutral venue. 

Behind the Netherlands are Hong Kong (nine), Scotland (seven), Kenya (six) and PNG (four). 

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Published: 17-04-2016 08:46

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