By a Staff Reporter
Kathmandu (HamroKhelkud) – Nepal have registered a nail-biting victory against Canada to lead the three-match series 1-0. Defending a medium total of just 224 runs, Nepal packed up Canada on 217 runs to win by just seven runs.
Canada, who were 174-3 at one stage lost the remaining seven wickets for just 43 runs. Nepal’s skipper Rohit Paudel bowled magnificently and took four wickets for 22 runs in his 8.5-over spell and gave away just 22 runs in the process. Lalit Rajbanshi picked two wickets in his eight overs, giving away 41 runs. Sompal Kami, Pawan Sarraf, Kushal Malla and debutant Rijan Dhakal picked up one wicket each for Nepal.
Canada were in trouble after losing the first two wickets for just 35 runs in the sixth over. Opener Navneet Dhaliwal was dismissed by Rijan for six runs while his opening pair Aaron Johnson was sent back to the pavilion by Sompal Kami on a 15-ball 20 with three fours and a six.
Pargat Singh was the third wicket that fell in the 20th over. He got to a half-century and was dismissed by Rohit on 50 off 58. He hit nine boundaries in his innings. Harsh Thaker was bowled by Kushal Malla on 32 off 43 in the 33rd over. That is when Canada’s downward spiral began.
Shreyas Movva could only manage to add one run to the total before being caught by Sompal off Rohit on just one run. Nicholas Kirton was dismissed by Pawan Sarraf on 68 off 99 in the 41st over. Uday Bhagwan made just six runs and was bowled by Rohit and was followed back to the pavilion by skipper Saad Bin Zafar who was dismissed on seven runs by Lalit Rajbanshi.
Dillion Heyliger was also caught leg-before-wicket by Lalit before Rohit dismissed Ishworjit Sohi on no runs to take home the victory. Shahid Ahmadzai remained not out on eight runs.
Earlier, winning the toss and batting first at the TU Cricket Ground, Nepal posted a total of 224 runs, losing all their wickets in the final delivery of the innings. Opener Kushal Bhurtel posted the highest individual score for Nepal. He hit nine boundaries and a six to get to his 58-ball 62.
The first partnership was broken in the first bowl of the tenth over with Aasif Sheikh departing on eight runs off 24. Skipper Rohit Paudel also got to eight runs before being dismissed in the 15th over. Kushal Bhurtel was the next man to head back to the pavilion, getting stumped off Canadian skipper Saad Bin Zafar’s delivery in the 19th over.
Bhim Sharki, batting at number four, was also dismissed by the Saad on 17 off 26 deliveries. Kushal Malla, who got off to a decent start, was caught at long on 20 off 32 deliveries of Harsh Thaker’s delivery.
Aarif Sheikh steadied the Nepal innings and was the next to depart for a well-made 38 off 50 deliveries. Pawan Sarraf, making his return to the senior national team, could only add 15 runs to the total. Sompal Kami made a 23-ball 27 with one four and two sixes before getting dismissed in the penultimate delivery of the 49th over.
Debutant Rijan Dhakal and Lalit Rajbanshi were dismissed in the final two deliveries of the innings on four and one run respectively. Surya Tamang remained unbeaten on ten runs.
Canada’s debutant Uday Bhagwan was the pick of the bowlers in the first innings with three scalps off his eight-over spell that had one maiden and gave away 40 runs in the process. Ishworjit Sohi chipped in with a couple of wickets and gave away 30 runs in eight overs. Skipper Saad Bin Zafar also got two wickets to his name, giving away 44 runs in his 10-over spell. Harsh Thaker and Shahid Ahmadzai took one wicket each.
The second ODI of the series will be played on Saturday before rounding off the series on February 12.