ICC News – Nepal fought till the end, but even its best efforts couldn’t stop the experienced Ireland side from winning its first warm-up fixture ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 2014. Set 138 to win, Ireland triumphed by five wickets with five balls to spare at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah on Thursday (March 12).
Jitendra Mukhiya, the right-arm medium pacer, heightened Nepal’s hopes of defending a reasonable 137 for 7 by dismissing Paul Stirling and Ed Joyce off consecutive deliveries in the fifth over. But Ireland’s depth in batting came to the fore with Gary Wilson and Stuart Thompson taking it to safety with an unbroken 39-run stand for the sixth wicket that brought victory in 19.1 overs.
Nepal, who had been sent in to bat, built its total on the back of 55-run stand for the third wicket between Gyanendra Malla and Paras Khadka, the captain. Malla hit three fours and a six in his robust 35-ball 47, while Khadka also wasn’t too far behind, as his 31 came off just 27 balls.
The partnership gave Nepal a platform from where it could look for a final onslaught. But Khadka’s dismissal to George Dockrell, the left-arm spinner, in the 12th over triggered a middle order slide, which it couldn’t quite recover from.
After being 71 for 2 in 11.4 overs, Nepal probably finished with fewer runs than it would have liked. Mukhiya’s strikes would have given the side hope, but William Porterfield, the Ireland captain, held firm with a solid knock of 38. Porterfield and Andrew Poytner (28) shared a 48-run stand for the third wicket after coming together at 30 for 2, but their dismissals, followed by that of Kevin O’Brien rocked the boat as Ireland found itself 102 for 5, needing 36 off 22 to win.
At that stage, Nepal had its nose in front, but Thompson smashed an unbeaten 19 off just nine deliveries to take the pressure off. At the other end, Wilson remained unbeaten on 31 off 21 as the duo scored 39 runs in just 2.5 overs .
Ireland plays Bangladesh in its second warm-up game on March 14, while Nepal will square off against UAE on the same day, with both matches at the same venue.