Muskat – Nepal registered their third victory in the Cricket World Cup League 2 series after a heroic performance from their young guns Kushal Bhurtel and Rohit Paudel at Al Amerat on Monday.
The first match of the tri-series under ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 being played in Oman saw an exciting cricket from the young side, post-Paras Khadka’s retirement.
The USA team won the toss and without any hesitation, they decided to bat first. Steven Taylor and Sushant Modani, their openers, were driving the balls confidently from the start as there were no demons on the pitch. However, the new pacer Bikram Sob dismissed Taylor in his second over, caught at slip for 14(17).
Sandeep Lamichhane, the biggest threat for the USA, after their horrible 35-run collapse in Nepal, last year, came to the picture at tenth over. That change brought a second dismissal for Nepal, as Modani was trapped leg before for 16(28).
Monank Patel, the wicket-keeper batsman, played an outstanding inning of his life and reached three figures. His controlled innings against Nepal’s bowling attack, especially against the spinner was worth watching.
The 28-year-old was put down when he was 79, managed to score his first ODI century in 113 balls with 9 fours and a six. The landmark also saw the USA’s second ODI century after Jaskaran Malhotra’s record innings of 173* against PNG last week.
Nisarg Patel(21), Nosthush Kenjige(13), Sanjay Krishnamurthi(13), Karima Gore(16), and Abhisekh Paradkar(13*), all made valuable contributions to the USA’s scoreboard. When Jaskaran Malhotra arrived at the crease, the praise of his previous innings continued, however, Sushan Bhari silently dismissed him for 11(21) without any boundaries.
The last wicket added valuable 17-runs before the close of the innings at 230/9.
Karan KC has an off-day with the ball, his spell of 5-0-41-0 was ineffective, however, Bikram Sob clinched two wickets. A lot of respect was given during Sandeep Lamichhane’s spell but he still manages two wickets from his ten overs with two maidens. Sushan Bhari also grabbed two wickets and Kushal Malla took one wicket.
Nepal started the chase with confidence, the openers, Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh piled up risk-free 66 runs for the first wicket, Nepal’s highest opening stand in ODI so far. Aasif threw his wicket away after batting 23 runs off 42 balls, including two boundaries.
Gyanendra Malla looked in good touch as his quick-fire 17 off 15 including a six and a four, made a clear intention of the chase. At 93 runs, Nepal lost its most experienced batsman as Malla was trapped off slow left-armer Nisarg Patel.
The USA team used eight bowlers today and seven of them were left-arm bowlers.
Bhurtel and Rohit Paudel steadied the innings and added a valuable 51 run partnership for the third wicket. Bhurtel also hit his maiden half-century and scored 84 off 93 balls with 3 boundaries and 3 sixes before being trapped off Nisarg Patel, while trying to play a legside-sweep.
Kushal Malla’s miserable form continued in this match as well, he made 1 run from 7 balls.
Rohit Paudel, at one stage, had a strike rate of below 40 with no boundaries. However, the build-up to the chase and the match-winning 83-run partnership with Binod Bhandari helped to bring his confidence back to strike the ball outside the boundary on three occasions. He brought up his third half-century off 79 balls, in his short ODI career, surpassing Paras Khadka’s record of two fifties.
Binod Bhandari played an anchored inning and deserved a praise. With plenty of experience in domestic matches and not converting on the same level at the international level, he usually gets criticized for. However, his valuable 48 balls-37 runs made sure Nepal reached the target without any hiccups. Just three runs away from the victory, he fell trying to do a reverse sweep.
Rohit Paudel hit the last ball of 49th over for a couple and Nepal finished the first match in style. Nepal registered their three consecutive wins against the USA. The 5-wicket win was also their second biggest win by wickets in ODI.
With the win, Nepal gained two points and currently sitting in the sixth position with a total of 6 points. With another victory, Nepal can jump to fourth place.
Nepal will play the host Oman on Tuesday at the same venue.