CWC League 2, Nepal Men, News

Nepal starts the decisive series with a cakewalk win over PNG

Nepal, who needed to win all four matches from the last Tri-Series of ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 to seal the direct spot in the World Cup Qualifier, has started the series in a fascinating way at home.

The home side bundled out Papua New Guinea (PNG) for 245 runs in 47.1 overs and registered a cakewalk 52-run victory in front of a jumbo crowd at TU Cricket Ground. Moreover, Nepal now needs just one win from three matches to retain an ODI status.

PNG had a cracking start, chasing a big total of 298 runs set by Nepal. The openers assembled 71 runs from the powerplay and added 77 runs before Dipendra Singh Airee effected a run out to dismiss Kiplin Doriga for 26. There was no stopping for Nepal after that, as the hosts kept on taking quick wickets.

Airee dismissed Sese Bau (3) before Sandeep Lamichhane sent back Tony Ura just after completing his half-century. Lamichanne grabbed two in two as PNG were down to 152/6 in the 33rd over. Kushal Malla then dismissed skipper Assad Vala (42) a couple of overs later.

PNG managed to score a bunch of runs towards the end as the lower order didn’t lose its grip. With the help of Norman Vanua’s blistering knock-off 55-ball 60 runs, the visitors managed 88 runs for the last three wickets. He smacked three fours and four biggies before he was run out in the first ball of the 48th over as the final wicket. Riley Hekure also assisted 20 runs.

Sandeep Lamichhane was once again the pick of the bowlers for Nepal, grabbing four wickets (10-1-37-4). Dipendra Singh Airee pocketed a couple of wickets (9.1-0-37-2), while Kushal Malla bagged one. Skipper Rohit Paudel bowled nine overs in the match with a healthy economy.

Earlier, Nepal were bowled out in 49.1 overs, posting the record-highest ODI total. Aasif Sheikh scored a ton as Nepal posted 297 runs on the board. Invited to bat first at TU Cricket Ground, Openers Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh added 110 runs for the first wicket before the dismissal of Bhurtel for 45 runs. Kushal Malla (2), promoted to number three, was dismissed cheaply, followed by Gyanendra Malla (10).

Aasif Sheikh and Rohit Paudel then shared 67 runs for the fourth wicket. Aasif completed his maiden ODI ton and also reached the landmark of 1000 ODI runs, becoming the second batter to do so. Aasif also became the fifth batter to score an ODI century for Nepal after Paras Khadka, Rohit Paudel, Dipendra Singh Airee and Kushal Bhurtel.

Eventually, the wicketkeeper batter was dismissed for a run-a-ball 110, smacking 12 fours and a couple of sixes. Rohit too was dismissed for 30 after a couple of balls as Nepal were down to 208/5 in the 38th over.

Nepal could only add 89 runs for the last five wickets. Bhim Sharki scored 44 runs from 38 balls with five fours. Aarif Sheikh also assisted 15 runs.

For PNG, Semo Kamea registered his career-best figure, grabbing his first fifer in ODI. He conceded 38 runs from 9.1 overs. Riley Hekure also pocketed three wickets.